Jerod Mayo emerging as candidate to call defensive plays among minicamp observations

By WEEI 93.7

FOXBORO -- The Patriots held the second of three mandatory minicamp sessions on the upper grass fields behind Gillette Stadium on Wednesday and one of the biggest things that stood out was with the coaching staff.

For the second straight day, inside linebackers coach Jerod Mayo had a heavy involvement in what was going on with the defensive side of the ball, which included using a walkie-talkie to call plays to the defense during 11-on-11 work. Now, it should be noted the linebackers are the ones calling the plays, so it would make sense the linebackers coach is calling it in, but there's also a chance Bill Belichick is grooming Mayo to potentially call the plays on game day.

After all, Belichick has noted many times how smart Mayo is, and he was the signal caller when he played.

"Like I said, we're glad to have Jerod. He does a great job. We'll see how it goes. We're at the early stage of practice and season. We'll see how things evolve from here," Belichick said after the session when asked about what it's like having Mayo on staff.

This will be something to watch over the course of the summer and into the preseason games.

Here are some of the other things observed over the course of the two-hour session held in sunny, warm conditions.

-- Attendance was the same as Tuesday with Sony Michel missing again.

-- For the quarterbacks, it was a similar session as the day before. Tom Brady led all the reps and was solid, completing passes to a number of different receivers. Brian Hoyer was next in line and was up-and-down, which is typically the case with him. Rookie Jarred Stidham was next in terms of the depth chart and improved from Tuesday, but still is showing signs of being a rookie. Danny Etling didn't get much work at all, and it would seem he's a candidate to be cut before training camp just because he's an extra body at this point.

-- Maurice Harris was the standout receiver Wednesday, catching a numbers of passes in 11-on-11 drills. It would appear he's emerged as the best receiver besides Julian Edelman, N'Keal Harry and Phillip Dorsett (although Dorsett hasn't done much to this point).

-- Harry didn't do much in 11-on-11 work, but that was likely because Stephon Gilmore was covering him the majority of the time. He did work alone with Troy Brown at some points.

-- Working with Brady off to the side during special teams work were: Harry, Ben Watson and James White.

-- Joe Thuney continues to see extensive work at left tackle. While Isaiah Wynn is on the field, he isn't doing really any work. If Wynn still isn't participating once training camp begins, then it is really something to watch. Ted Karras saw the most reps in Thuney's place.

-- Matt Lacosse stands out at tight end and with Austin Seferian-Jenkins gone, there's a great chance LaCosse makes the team and contributes.

-- Gilmore had a standout day in 11-on-11 work breaking up a number of passes.

-- Mick Lombardi, who is the assumed assistant quarterbacks coach, worked extensively with the young quarterbacks, which is very similar to what Jerry Schuplinksi did.

-- Joejuan Williams appeared to be beaten several times in drills.

-- Among those returning punts included: Julian Edelman, Braxton Berrios, Harris and Gunner Olszewski.

-- Michael Bennett appeared to receive medical attention at one point, but he didn't miss time. It may have been just a simple re-taping of his ankle.

-- Rookie punter Jake Bailey showed off his massive leg again that generates tons of hang time. He and Ryan Allen kicked at the same time on opposite fields and it was clear Bailey has the bigger leg, it will just come down to consistency.

-- Stephen Gostkowski kicked field goals off to the side and both punters saw time as the holders.

-- Deion Branch and Brown were once again present helping out. Branch was talking with Edelman a ton.

-- Robert Kraft, on his 78th birthday, made an appearance on the field towards the end.

-- Olszewski was the first player on the field, while Etling was the last.

-- Kirk Ferentz and members of the Iowa coaching staff were on the field for a second straight day observing.