NFL: New England Patriots-Rookie Minicamp

When the New England Patriots said things would be different under first-year head coach Jerod Mayo, they meant it. As the Patriots linebackers coach, Mayo learned under former head coach Bill Belichick. And while they may have some similarities, the way Mayo runs the team far from mirrors what his predecessor did.

Mayo is splitting up the team tasks to his coaches and has given the most important job to his offensive coordinator Alex Van Pelt: Developing who they hope will be their franchise quarterback.

The Patriots drafted North Carolina's Drake Maye at No. 3 overall, and how he develops will most likely make or break the team's success going forward. He has not yet earned the starting QB job to begin the season and will be competing with veteran Jacoby Brissett for that spot. 

Getting Maye acclimated and prepared for the NFL will mostly fall on Van Pelt's shoulders, Mayo said. 

"You know, across the league, most offensive coordinators, they interact with the quarterback, the starting quarterback for the most part," Mayo said at rookie minicamp (via NBC Sports). 

He added that while he has a lot of coaches who are qualified to work with Maye, he does not want to overwhelm the rookie with too many people giving him advice. This is an approach Mayo is taking from his own experience as both a player and a coach in the league. 

"We do have a group of coaches that have quarterback backgrounds, but I would say overall it would be [Van Pelt] as far as that lead guy," Mayo added. "There has to be balance there, you don't want Drake hearing too many voices. Once again, that's why I'm saying that [Van Pelt] will be the lead guy as far as that communication with Drake."

Drake Maye
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Van Pelt's responsibilities will extend to the entire quarterback room, which includes Brissett, who is in his second stint with the team; Bailey Zappe, last year's backup-turned-starter; and 2024 sixth round pick Joe Milton III.

"You hear all these voices, but you have to have a small circle that you really talk to and trust," Mayo said. "I think [Van Pelt] is in that circle. I know [Van Pelt] is in that circle with Drake and the rest of the quarterbacks."

Mayo admitted that Maye has a long way to go before he is ready, but has faith he can get there because of the talents he has and the leadership skills the rookie will acquire. 

"He has a lot to work on. A lot to work on," Mayo said, via ESPN. "But I have no doubt that he will put the time in. He was here all night trying to get on the same page as everyone else."

Van Pelt was the Browns offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach in 2023 after serving as just the OC for Cleveland from 2020 to 2022. He has also served as the quarterbacks coach for the Cincinnati Bengals, Green Bay Packers, Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Buffalo Bills. With a defensive-minded head coach, it is not a huge surprise that he would assign his rookie QB to work with someone with a lot of experience on the other side of the ball.