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Pros and Cons of Jerod Mayo Coaching the Houston Texans

Why he makes sense... and why he may not...

New England Patriots v Miami Dolphins Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images

Now that we know conclusively David Culley has tens of millions stuffed in his pocket, a hearty handshake and pat on the back along with directions to the nearest interstate headed out of town, it’s time to get serious about the real future head coach of our Houston Texans.

Currently one of the very few success stories from the Bill Belichick/New England Patriots coaching tree is former Patriots linebacker Mike Vrabel. While Vrabel never actually coached under Belichick, he was a star player for the Patriots through 3 Super Bowls. He now presides over the AFC’s #1 seed heading into the playoffs.

Jerod Mayo, a star linebacker-turned-coach like Vrabel, spent nearly all of his pro football life in the shadow of Belichick, however.

The 2008 AP Defensive Rookie of the Year spent 8 seasons wrecking opposing offenses for the Patriots, amassing 803 combined tackles, 537 solo stops, 11 sacks, 8 forced fumbles, 7 fumble recoveries and 3 interceptions.

To say Mayo had a very accomplished playing career is an understatement.

But, does that translate to a successful coaching career?

It truly depends on what made the player great in the first place. Was he someone who simply shot through life on nigh superhuman talent? Did he focus intently on making himself the best player he could be? Or, did he possess a little of both while doing all he could to elevate the play of everyone around him?

War Room - Michael Holley

Mayo had been a top ten pick who didn’t act like one. On draft day, when the best of the best are invited to New York, often wearing made-for-occasion tailored suits, Mayo had been home in Virginia with his family raking leaves. He was a worker there and a worker in Foxboro. In the off season, he’d come to the stadium and watch film, even when there were no coaches to be found. He loved the game, and it could be seen by the way he played middle linebacker, never turning down the opportunity to plug a hole or run sideline to sideline.

It would seem this passionate love of the game didn’t stop when Mayo hung up his cleats. Based on his work with the Patriots defensive players in his coaching roles, it’s easy to see why his name is rising in coaching searches.

Mayo has been a popular name in the head coaching rumor mill this week. The Denver Broncos reportedly have requested to interview him for their head coach position. He also reportedly could be in the mix for the Chicago Bears job.

Mayo, who joined the Patriots’ coaching staff in 2019, has done a tremendous job working with New England’s defense — a unit that ranked No. 2 in points allowed and No. 4 in yards allowed during the 2021 regular season. His leadership skills also have drawn extremely high praise.

Why Jerod Mayo Should Join The Houston Texans

Just as with Brian Flores, Mayo is very familiar with Houston Texans general manager Nick Caserio. While Flores worked with Caserio for sometime, the H-Town GM and Mayo spent a decade together in Foxboro. Which means it’s no surprise his name is linked to the Houston opening.

Anyone who thinks Caserio hasn’t kept tabs on his old team this season is fooling themselves. It’s really just been a matter of time before Caserio made a pass at a coaching prospect from New England.

Mayo is a rising star with a history of excellence. His current players use the term “encouraging” when they mention him, and the results on the field speak for themselves.

Why Jerod Mayo Should Not Join The Houston Texans

As with any young coach who has never had a seat in the big chair, there are risks. Is the head coaching role too big for Mayo at this stage of his development? Like Vrabel, does he need time to grow as a defensive coordinator, before struggling to find his feet as a head coach? Vrabel didn’t turn the Not-The-Oilers into a #1 seed the day he signed the contract, after all.

With that in mind, will Jack Easterby keep his nose out of it long enough for Mayo to take the reins and start winning meaningful games? Will Caserio listen to Mayo’s input on draft picks and free agents, filling out the roster with players that suit Mayo’s scheme? Who would Mayo bring in as his coordinators and assistant coaches?

Pep Hamilton is a popular choice, deservedly so, for the vacant offensive coordinator role. Would Mayo embrace that? Or seek out another Tim Kelly? What about Lovie Smith? How does Romeo Crennel figure into all this?

No matter what the answers are, there’s always a lot of risk with a first time head coach who jumped over the coordinator level.

But every potential big reward often has a high risk on the front end.

Who would you prefer? Brian Flores or Jarod Mayo for the next Houston Texans head coach?