Former Miami Dolphins captain mentions Mike McDaniel in wise advice to Jerod Mayo

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Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports

The New England Patriots, who are division rivals of the Miami Dolphins, recently underwent a regime change after parting ways with longtime coach Bill Belichick. Taking the legendary tactician’s place is former Patriots linebacker Jerod Mayo.

While some might be wondering how having the second-youngest head coach in the league will pan out for New England, former Dolphins captain Jason McCourty thinks it has the potential to work, citing Mike McDaniel as an example for Mayo.

“I didn’t get a chance to play for Mike McDaniel, but I got a chance to meet with him,” McCourty said. “I was injured and was still in the building in March [when he was hired], and we sat down and talked for probably 30-40 minutes. The first time I ever met him — the quirkiness, and the things about him we’ve all seen transpire over the last two years — that’s who he was.

“So I look at it for Jerod, the best thing you can do for yourself is be yourself, and be honest. I think the worst thing that can possibly happen is for players to see you act one way for however many years that he’s been there as a linebackers coach, and next thing you know you become the head guy and you totally flip because now more things fall on you and you have to make more decisions.”

After turning 38 years old last February, Mayo is younger than every other NFL coach except Mike Macdonald of the Seattle Seahawks. However, given his age and experience as a player, he should be able to establish strong relationships with the Patriots players pretty well.

McCourty even seems to believe Mayo can use that to his advantage in trying to bring New England back to its former glory.

The retired defensive back, who currently works in the media, last played in the NFL for the Dolphins, appearing in seven games in the 2021 season before he was placed on season-ending injured reserve following the squad’s Week 7 matchup.

A veteran who was renowned for his leadership and had more than ten years of experience under his belt, McCourty was named a team captain in his lone campaign in Miami. He even won the Don Shula Leadership Award even though he played in less than half of the season.

Despite not suiting up for the Dolphins again and eventually retiring before the start of the 2022 regular season, McCourty got to meet with McDaniel and see firsthand how the young coach was able to build rapport with the players.

Some might think that McDaniel isn’t the right man for the job after a second early playoff exit.

But the fact that Miami made it to the 2023 playoffs after a six-year absence — and in McDaniel’s maiden season as a head coach — is certainly worthy of praise. Moreover, he also led the Dolphins to back-to-back playoff appearances for the first time since the 2001 season.

It remains to be seen if Mayo can replicate McDaniel’s success, but McCourty seems optimistic about his chances.

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Orel is a proud contributor of Dolphin Nation. He started following the league in the late 1990s and was able to watch Dan Marino's final playing years.