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Transcript: Jerod Mayo Press Conference 

Read the full transcript from Jerod Mayo's press conference on Monday, May 20, 2024.

PATRIOTS HEAD COACH JEROD MAYO

PRESS CONFERENCE

May 20, 2024

Q: How are you doing?

JM: I'm doing well, how are you guys? I'm excited. First of all, OTAs, our guys seem ready to go. Really dialed in in the meeting rooms, and we'll see, now it's time to apply it to the field. So, excited.

Q: Specific to the quarterbacks, what are you looking to see from them in this setting?

JM: Well, it depends what quarterback you're talking about. I would say, from a holistic standpoint, it's just about progress. Today, it won't be perfect, and I don't expect them to be perfect, but you want to make sure you see these guys going in the right direction from an execution standpoint.

Q: As you guys build this offense, this playbook, is this sort of Alex Van Pelt's offense? Is this an offense for your two quarterbacks? Is this an offense for Jacoby [Brissett]?

JM: All these quarterbacks have, let's say, a similar skillset. It's an AVP [Alex Van Pelt] offense. And once again, sometimes I think we read too much into that stuff, especially when you're talking about early downs, which is really the primary focus this week is early downs and not third down. Once you get to third down, it's a little bit more exotic, and you can say, "oh, this is an Alex Van Pelt offense," or whoever you want to use.

Q: You mentioned early downs. When you guys get to team periods today, is that the focus here?

JM: Yeah, once we get to team, it's all early downs. And once again, we're going to go out here and compete, but at the same time be smart. Our number one goal has to be to get out of the spring healthy. Hopefully we have built a sense of camaraderie amongst our teammates and coaches, and really getting a fundamental understanding of how we want to play.

Q: With four quarterbacks, what is the plan when it comes to splitting up the reps?

JM: You'll see today. But honestly, all these guys will get opportunities. It's really not about how many reps here and there, it's about the quality of the reps that you get. That's what I preach.

Q: What progress did you see out of Drake Maye during rookie minicamp?

JM: Yeah, I thought Drake did a great job not only progressing on the field, but also off the field. You can already tell like he is going to put in that extra work. You know, I walked by the quarterback meeting room, he's just in there by himself, watching film. Those are the things that you want to see. I am excited to see his growth going forward.

Q: How do you view the competition in the wide receiver room?

JM: It's a wide-open competition. We have some young bulls, we have some older players. We have guys who are really unproven. So, this is an opportunity for them to really get a leg up going forward, especially when you don't have a guy like [Kendrick] Bourne out here during the spring. Guys will have opportunities.

Q: JuJu [Smith-Schuster] had a tough year last year with physical issues. What have you seen from him so far? That room is pretty crowded.

JM: Yeah, the room is definitely crowded. He looks good. He's moving around well. We'll see today when they're actually going against someone else, but he looks good and it is a question for the end of the spring, honestly.

Q: A lot of the focus has been on Drake and Jacoby, and even Joe [Milton III] a little bit. One person we haven't talked about a lot is Bailey Zappe. What have you seen from him this offseason and how has he improved in your eyes?

JM: Honestly, I think about Zap [Bailey Zappe] as a true professional. You know, we drafted two quarterbacks. Obviously, he is going to be competing with those guys, but at the same time, he is an open book. He is a resource. He has started games in this league, and that's more than the other two quarterbacks can say.

Q: Going to Kendrick [Bourne] for a second, you mentioned not having him for the spring. What is the timeline to have him on the field?

JM: Honestly, it's a week-by-week type of thing. We hope to get him out here, but he won't be out here during the spring, I can tell you that. So, we'll see going forward. That's more information than you normally would get, right?

Q: Is there anyone else we are not expected to see during the spring because of injuries?

JM: There are a few guys, you know, a few guys still working through some things. We had our offseason surgeries and things like that, so you'll see out here in a second.

Q: These are optional practices. Are you happy with the attendance?

JM: The attendance is great. The attendance is great. You know, a handful of guys that aren't here. At the same time, those guys that aren't here are true professionals and they know what they have to do to get back and be in shape and ready to go.

Q: Is Matthew Judon expected to be here?

JM: He's not here today. I'll say, he's not here today. He has been in and out. At the same time, look, he is one of those guys. Historically, he has been in and out, so that is not really a big story there.

Q: Do you guys have a rough timeline when it comes to Cole Strange?

JM: Yeah, that is an interesting one. He is another guy, you would normally say day-by-day. He's more of a, let's say, week-by-week or you can go month-by-month if you want to. But he is working hard, you know, he is doing his rehab. He is here every day. He is in the meeting room, so I am happy where he is.

Q: Are the rep distributions that we see with the quarterbacks, is that what will probably be happening when we are not here?

JM: No, that won't be indicative of what we do. I think it's a day-by-day thing. You know, you try to keep all those guys around the same rep count, but at the same time, in any given day, this guy could get 30 reps and another guy could get five. But then as we work through the week, it could kind of flip.

Q: When it comes to Drake's development, do you guys look at it in phases. How do you kind of structure what he can absorb?

JM: Yeah, there are definitely things, you know, he is learning a new playbook. He is learning a new language, he is learning his teammates, he's learning the fundamentals that we preach here. So, it's a lot for him, but at the same time, I know he can handle it and I just look forward to seeing him progress.

Q: What has the players' response been to having Matthew Slater back in? I know we have kind of talked about what it means to you to have him back, but what have you noticed with the players?

JM: Yeah, the thing about Slate [Matthew Slater], he can wear so many different hats. He can help as far as technique and coaching is concerned on special teams. He has always been a spiritual leader in our locker room as well, and then once again, just a confidant not only to me, but also to the players. He knows, 100 percent, that I will never put him in a position where he is kind of losing the trust of the players. I want the players to be able to talk to him, knowing it won't get back to me, and he understands that as well.

Q: You spoke to Albert Breer for a story that came out today in reference to the plan for the quarterbacks. It's to have four down to three, so you understand how to split up the reps for training camp. What would that fourth quarterback then be doing?

JM: We'll see, we'll see. Once we get to training camp, that's real football, so out here in the spring, we'll rock with four. But, as soon as we get to training camp, you have to start pairing down the roster.

Q: On your rookie quarterbacks, what do you like about the way they sort of work together? Are you noticing anything just pairing them together?

JM: Yeah, you know, they've had a history before. You know, those guys, they'll quarterback trek together. And I would also say, Drake, he knows Jacoby. He knew Jacoby before he even got here. So, those guys are working well together, and you know, the rookies had that extra hour as well, so they are accountability partners both on and off the field.

Q: A lot of guys on this staff, two guys in particular are local guys: Coby Tippett and Vinny DePalma. What did you see from them and why did you want them on your staff?

JM: Yeah, they are hard workers. I think that, first and foremost, has to be something that we focus on, is having guys, "grinders" is what we call our guys, are here at 6:00 in the morning and leave here when work is done. They have done a great job for us.

Q: Just having so many coaches on the staff, what went into that as well?

JM: Yeah, you know, the thing about it is that's an interesting dynamic, or an interesting conversation with so many coaches on the staff. What I will say, historically, we have always had a small staff, and so now it feels like a lot of coaches out here, but really that brings us back to par, realistically.

Q: When you were a rookie, you were a high draft pick and you kind of came into a leadership role pretty quickly. I'm just curious, with Drake, the position he plays is obviously the leadership position. How do you strike the balance between fitting in as a young guy with a lot of veterans around him, but also trying to eventually become a leader here?

JM: Honestly, that narrative of me coming in as a leader my first year is kind of off, in my opinion. My big thing was to be a sponge, learn from the Mike Vrabels, the Tom Bradys, the Randy Moss's of the world. And really, like, my leadership happened by those guys throwing me in the room with Bill [Belichick] asking for no pads. So, they knew I really cared about the team more than I cared about myself, because I'd say, "Coach, you know, the guys are tired, they don't want to be in pads." 80 percent of the time, Coach was like, "get back in the locker room," but the two times that he would say, "you're right, you're probably right," I was a hero in there. And that's where my leadership development really took off my first year.

Q: Are you looking for leadership traits from Drake out here? Or are you just looking for those sponge qualities?

JM: I think you hit it on the head. You want to have a quarterback that has leadership traits, if you want to become the team that you want to be. It's the guy that touches the ball every single play. You know, I will say this, you can develop leadership. Some people have that natural leadership, but I do think it's a muscle that you can develop.

Q: We talk a lot about the rookies at this time of the year, but the second and third-year players, what are some big jumps you would like to see from them at this point?

JM: Yeah, I mean, there is no other point in their careers where they can make a massive jump like they can going from year one to year two. I mean, you look at the linemen that we have going into year two, like we are leaning on those guys to really make those jumps and they have to really understand that and put in the extra work. And once again, they have to really, don't worry about last year. Now you understand what we are trying to do from a scheduling standpoint, from what you got to do to go out there and play. And so, we are looking for those guys to make a huge jump.

Q: What are your thoughts on the Week 14 bye week? How tough is that?

JM: Yeah, it seems like a long way out. It is what it is. At the same time, I think it will be a welcomed break for our guys. We will be grinding through, and I think our guys will be up for the challenge.

Q: Brian Belichick is one of the coaches who is back, who you have retained on the staff. How would you describe his value and the way Brian has handled everything in the last year?

JM: True professional. Anytime you see your dad and your brother go somewhere else, the natural thing would be to go with them. But he is a New Englander. He is a Patriot. I am happy to have him. I know DeMarcus [Covington] is happy to have him as well. I think he is a great coach, and I still think he has room to grow. He has really taken it by the horns and worked on his development. So, excited to have him.

Q: Obviously, you have Kayshon Boutte out here. What is his status, with the team understanding that the league is probably processing his arrest?

JM: Yeah, I mean, right now he is out here. We will wait to hear from the league going forward, but he's out here. He is doing a good job for us.

Q: This is the first time we have talked to you since Eliot [Wolf] was officially given the title (of Executive VP of Player Personnel). What are your thoughts on that? I think the team said that he will have control of the 53-man roster.

JM: Look, I am very excited to work with Eliot. We have been working behind the scenes for a while now. He is one of those guys where we both believe in collaboration and working together. Now look, once again, we are 0-0, so there will be a time where we probably won't see things the same. But, at the same time, I think we can work through it. Excited to work with him.

Q: Just to get back to the bye week question, would you have rather had an earlier one? Could you have asked to have an earlier one?

JM: That whole process, I think they always give teams the option to have it right after an international game. Now look, would I have wanted it a little bit earlier? Maybe like Week 10. Who knew it would be Week 14? But it is what it is.

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