Who will make Patriots' personnel calls after Bill Belichick?

FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- Quick-hit thoughts and notes around the New England Patriots and NFL:

1. Wolf well-positioned: One of the next critical steps for the Patriots after coach Bill Belichick's exit will be in their personnel department, clarifying roles and ultimately determining who runs the show after Belichick had final say for the past two decades. With the No. 3 overall pick, this is arguably the team's most important draft since selecting quarterback Drew Bledsoe first overall in 1993.

Some key points from team and league sources:

  • In 30 years of ownership, Robert Kraft and Jonathan Kraft have never hired a general manager. Bobby Grier and Scott Pioli held the title of vice president of player personnel, while Nick Caserio and Matt Groh assumed the of director of player personnel title. That history suggests that any hire is unlikely to be a GM who is given authority to run the entire football operation. Instead, the Krafts will be looking for someone to oversee personnel and work in concert with new head coach Jerod Mayo.

  • Director of scouting Eliot Wolf, the son of Pro Football Hall of Fame executive Ron Wolf, is viewed by some in the organization as well-positioned to be the choice for more responsibility and to possibly lead personnel efforts. He was an assistant general manager for the Browns (2018-19) before joining New England. The past four years have, in some respects, been an extended job interview for him. The Krafts' familiarity with him likely works in his favor.

  • Interviews with external candidates are still in play. But with the current staff remaining in place at least through the draft -- headlined by Wolf, director of player personnel Matt Groh, senior personnel advisor Pat Stewart, director of pro scouting Steve Cargile and college scouting coordinator Camren Williams -- the Krafts seem to be taking the view that there is no need to rush.

2. Missed opportunity?: As certain as the Krafts are about Mayo -- and their hiring of past head coaches Belichick and Pete Carroll warrants respect -- some executives and coaches around the NFL are surprised they didn't conduct interviews with other candidates, if for nothing else than to gather information that could benefit the organization in the future. What was the rush? That's one of several questions the Krafts figure to be asked, when Mayo is formally introduced Wednesday, about their decision-making process (going back to last offseason when they put succession plans in Mayo's contract) and how some team sources believed the domino effect of that decision resulted in a more divided coaching staff.

3. Mayo's philosophy: Mayo conducted biweekly reporter interviews over the course of the season, which provided insight into his coaching philosophy and focus on "conceptual learning." His insights are timely to revisit after he was named the team's 15th head coach on Friday:

  • "We always talk about teaching them how to think, not what to think. 'It's your defense, have ownership, accountability, here are the keys.'"

  • "Scheme is one thing, but I truly believe it's about the players. Our X's and O's are very fundamentally sound, but it's about having good players."

  • "I like to tell the players that once they get on the field, it's a blank canvas. So go fill it up, but just make sure you keep it on the canvas."

  • "I love coaching, but I don't do it to pay the bills. I do it because of the love of the game and the love of developing players."

4. Mayo steps fourth: Another aspect that makes Mayo's hire unique -- since the 1970 AFL-NFL merger, he becomes just the fourth head coach to have played for his team's previous coach with the same team. According to Elias Sports Bureau, the others are the Vikings' Mike Tice in 2002 (under Dennis Green), Washington's Jack Pardee in 1978 (under George Allen) and Green Bay's Bart Starr in 1975 (under Dan Devine).

5. Goodbye, dais: Mayo prefers to sit among those he is addressing rather than speak to them from behind a dais, so daily media briefings (and perhaps even team meetings) will have a notably different feel. Wednesday's official introduction of Mayo as the 15th head coach in franchise history could provide the first glimpse of this.

6. They said it: "He knows how to bring the young guys along and get them adapted and up to speed with the older guys, so you can all see one vision. That's one of the things he loves to say: 'I don't care if I'm right or you're right, I want us to see the same picture.'" -- Patriots outside linebacker Matthew Judon, on Mayo, during an appearance Friday on ESPN's NFL Live.

7. Roll call: Former Patriots offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels was among those present in the team auditorium Thursday when Kraft and Belichick appeared together to announce their parting of ways. Among others seated in the back: defensive line coach DeMarcus Covington, cornerbacks coach Mike Pellegrino, director of football/head coach administration Berj Najarian, director of scouting administration Nancy Meier, video archivist Jimmy Dee and team sports dietician Ted Harper. Speaking without the aid of written notes, Belichick, who said he didn't want to leave anyone out, specifically highlighted Najarian and Meier as those who had been with him "since Day 1."

8. International plans? After "hosting" a game in Frankfurt, Germany during the 2023 season, the Patriots could have their passports punched again in 2024 -- this time as a "road" team. The NFL announced Thursday that the Bears (London's Tottenham Hotspur Stadium) and Jaguars (London's Wembley Stadium) are among the teams hosting international games -- and both are road opponents for New England in 2024.

9. Did you know? -- Part I: If Belichick coaches a new team in 2024, he would be the first head coach to start a season with a new team in his 70s.

10. Did you know? -- Part II: Mayo becomes the 242nd former player to become an NFL head coach since the 1970 merger. Of that group, 134 were offensive players and 108 were defensive players, according to Elias. Mayo is the first former Patriots player to serve as the team's head coach.