All good things must come to an end. The New England Patriots were the NFL's Evil Empire, but now resemble one of the worst teams in the league. It has been a long time since Tom Brady last played for them, yet Bill Belichick remains. New England is a disastrous 1-5 on the season and going nowhere fast. We have to wonder if wholesale changes are coming to this stable AFC East franchise.
Sports Illustrated's Albert Breer made the rounds on sports talk radio this past week. The NFL insider is as connected as anyone when it comes to the Patriots, so anything he is hearing out of Foxborough is worth monitoring. When asked about if there is a succession plan in place in New England, Breer mentioned that linebackers coach Jerod Mayo could be a good internal candidate.
He may have been aggregated over his comments while appearing on The Herd With Colin Cowherd or The Dan Patrick Show previously, but he certainly set the record straight about what all is going on in New England while going on The Rich Eisen Show earlier this week. Obviously, Jonathan Kraft will take over for Robert Kraft as the majority owner when the time comes, but there is so much more...
Here is the conversation Breer had with Eisen about what could be coming for the Patriots here soon.
There are three things that are clear from Breer's conversation with Eisen. One, New England getting Mayo to turn down an interview with the Carolina Panthers this past offseason cycle speaks volumes about his future with the franchise. Two, it is way more likely that Belichick gets a general manager forced on him than him being fired as head coach. And three, Jonathan Kraft will call the shots soon.
No matter how you look at it, something has to change in Foxborough because this product is awful.
NFL insider hints major changes may be coming for New England Patriots
While offensive coordinator Bill O'Brien has ample head-coaching experience, Mayo has, in a way, been tabbed as a potential heir apparent from within the Patriots organization. He played for Belichick and could be the next version of Mike Vrabel in some aspects. Again, that is a name worth monitoring. The big question is if he will be allowed to interview with any of the other franchises across the NFL.
As far as the general manager component is concerned, it is time. Belichick had long been able to do two jobs effectively, but his regularly bad drafts and questionable free-agent acquisitions mean it is time to let somebody else take the wheel there. I mean, they had guys like Nick Caserio and Dave Ziegler in the building. Now they are in charge of building the Houston Texans and Las Vegas Raiders.
And finally, Jonathan Kraft getting more say in the operation over his aging father Robert Kraft makes a ton of sense. While it remains to be seen if he will be as good of an owner as his father was and has been, his decision-making processes will shape this organization far more than his father's will down the line. I doubt he has the stones to fire Belichick, but a mutual parting of ways may be coming soon.
Frankly, the Patriots' lack of adaptability in recent years have contributed to their cataclysmic demise. They were not a good franchise before Kraft bought them, and were middling at best before Brady took over for Drew Bledsoe at quarterback mid-season in 2001. This had been an innovative operation, but maybe their machines need some updating? Otherwise, they will remain irrelevant.
These changes may not be in the immediate future, but could be closer than any of us even realize.