Newly-named New England Patriots head coach Jerod Mayo faces reporters,...

Newly-named New England Patriots head coach Jerod Mayo faces reporters, Wednesday, Jan. 17, 2024, during an NFL football news conference, in Foxborough, Mass. Jerod Mayo was clear when he was hired as the New England Patriots new coach that he wanted to empower his new staff with the freedom to have a voice both on the sideline and in the meeting rooms. Mayo announced the addition of 17 new assistants this week, who will support himself and his trio of new offensive coordinator. Credit: AP/Steven Senne

FOXBOROUGH, Mass. — Jerod Mayo was clear when he was hired as the New England Patriots new coach that he wanted to empower his new staff with the freedom to have a voice both on the sideline and in the meeting rooms.

His new trio of coordinators said Wednesday that they are confident they will have the space they need to help the franchise begin its rebuilding process next season.

Mayo announced the addition of 17 new assistants this week, who will provide support for himself and new coordinators Alex Van Pelt (offensive), DeMarcus Covington (defensive) and Jeremy Springer (special teams).

The group is a mix of first-time coaches such as former Patriots linebacker Dont’a Hightower, who will coach his former position, and veterans such as Ben McAdoo, the former New York Giants head coach, who will be a senior offensive assistant.

As a first-time head coach, Mayo said that hiring a former head coach such as McAdoo was intentional.

“It was important to me to have someone I could bounce questions off of that’s actually sat in that seat,” Mayo said. “It’s been great. And I’ve had a relationship with coaches around the league as well who have offered to help. They’re not in the AFC, so that’s a good thing.”

Mayo said that director of scouting Eliot Wolf was a key partner in helping build out the staff, and his imprint is easy to spot.

Cleveland Browns offensive coordinator Alex Van Pelt stands on the...

Cleveland Browns offensive coordinator Alex Van Pelt stands on the field during an NFL preseason football game against the Chicago Bears, Saturday, Aug. 27, 2022, in Cleveland. Jerod Mayo was clear when he was hired as the New England Patriots new coach that he wanted to empower his new staff with the freedom to have a voice both on the sideline and in the meeting rooms. Mayo announced the addition of 17 new assistants this week, who will support himself and his trio of new offensive coordinator. Credit: AP/David Richard

Wolf worked with both Van Pelt and new defensive line coach Jerry Montgomery during Wolf’s time as a member of the Green Bay Packers’ front office.

McAdoo was also the quarterbacks coach for the Packers in 2012 and 2013 when Van Pelt was their running backs coach.

Mayo said the fact that Van Pelt was fired after four seasons as Cleveland’s offensive coordinator wasn’t a deterrent to bringing him in to try to fix a Patriots offense that ranked near the bottom of the league in multiple categories.

“AVP ... I don’t want to get into what happened in Cleveland, but all the people I talked to — they speak very highly of AVP,” Mayo said. “Obviously, he understands the X's and O's of the game. But also developing talent. And really, he is a relationship guy, which I fundamentally believe is very important. Before you get into X's and O's on the field with guys, they’ve got to know you care about them.”

FILE -New England Patriots defensive line coach DeMarcus Covington stands...

FILE -New England Patriots defensive line coach DeMarcus Covington stands on the sidelines before an NFL football game against the Pittsburgh Steelers Thursday, Dec. 7, 2023, in Pittsburgh. Jerod Mayo was clear when he was hired as the New England Patriots new coach that he wanted to empower his new staff with the freedom to have a voice both on the sideline and in the meeting rooms. Mayo announced the addition of 17 new assistants this week, who will support himself and his trio of new offensive coordinator. Credit: AP/Matt Freed

Van Pelt and Covington both confirmed that they will be calling plays in the 2024 season.

Though it will be his first time doing so at this level, Covington said working in multiple defensive coaching roles during his previous seven years as an assistant has prepared him.

“It just doesn’t happen overnight,” Covington said. “This is something I’ve been preparing, something I’ve been wanting to do. So, you already take the necessary steps to prepare yourself for when you get the opportunity.”

The biggest question on offense this offseason will be what happens at the quarterback position after Mac Jones struggled and was benched over the final four games of the season.

The Patriots hold the No. 3 overall pick in the draft and will be in position to draft one of the top college prospects if they choose.

Van Pelt said that he had met Jones and didn’t rule him out as returning to his starting role.

“Really right now, everything is on the table,” Van Pelt said. “As we go through this process we’re really these last couple weeks, 10 days have been diving into and trying to evaluate our guys. ... We’re trying to understand who we have here as well as looking at other players out there."

Regarding what he envisions the Patriots offense to look like next season, Van Pelt said there could be some elements of the scheme he ran in Cleveland under coach Kevin Stefanski.

“I wouldn’t say same. Similar. I would say there’s a lot of similarities. It’s the pieces of that puzzle,” Van Pelt said. What’s available and how can we make those guys successful? There’ll be similarities. I’ve taken pieces of a lot of different offenses over my time and kind of melded those together for what was best for at that time.”

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