Patriots player reveals some key defensive information that Bill Belichick may have been trying to keep secret

During his 20 seasons as head coach with the New England Patriots, Bill Belichick has definitely mastered the art of speaking to the media without actually ever giving away any information. Unfortunately for Belichick though, he hasn't quite yet managed to pass that talent on to all of his players. 

During an interview this week, Patriots safety Duron Harmon revealed a piece of information that Belichick had been hesitant to talk about this year. 

One of the biggest questions about the Patriots heading into the 2019 season revolves around who will be calling defensive plays. The job belonged to Brian Flores last year, but he's now in Miami. The Patriots then hired Greg Schiano, but that experiment ended before it really even started

Although there's been at least one report this offseason suggesting that Belichick himself would call the plays this year, the Patriots coach definitely wasn't calling the plays in New England's first preseason game

During the Patriots' 31-3 win over the Lions, inside linebackers coach Jerod Mayo appeared to be calling the plays, but there was no way to know that for sure because Belichick decided to guard the information like a state secret. 

Here's what Belichick had to say recently when asked if Mayo had been calling the plays or if it was a team effort by the coaching staff. 

"We'll always do what we feel is best for the football team," Belichick said on Aug. 9, via quotes from the team. "That's what we always do, so I don't see that really changing."

Belichick was then asked directly if Mayo had been calling the plays. 

"We're doing what's best for the football team," Belichick. 

Classic Belichick. Say words, but give away nothing. 

Apparently, Harmon didn't get the memo that he wasn't supposed to be talking about Mayo's role on the defense, because the Patriots safety spilled the beans on everything during an interview with WEEI in Boston this week

So who's been calling the plays on defense?

"Jerod, obviously, he's been calling the plays for us," Harmon said. "He's been working at making sure he can get the play in on time and he's been doing a good job for us. Obviously, there are going to be growing pains, and I wouldn't even call them growing pains. There are just some things we're going to need to get better at, but right now I like where we are headed."

If Harmon is in Belichick's doghouse this week, you now know why. The irony here is that Harmon's interview is basically one of the big reasons why Belichick likes his players to be robots with the media. As Doug Flutie explained back in May, Belichick doesn't want them accidentally leaking information, which Harmon just did. 

Although the cat's out of the bag, the good news for the Patriots is that it sounds like Mayo is doing a good job so far. 

"He is always asking us and coming up to us, 'This is what I am thinking for this drive. … What are you guys thinking?'" Harmon said. "He is trying to get the input obviously of the older guys, but I think the thing that makes Mayo so unique in this situation is not only was he a great football player, but he was just a smart football player as well. Always knew where to be. Always was smart enough to get other people aligned as well. So when you have a guy like that, who is that smart and a great leader, it is so easy for people to follow him. It is so easy."

In Mayo's debut calling defensive plays, the Patriots held the Lions to just three points while also racking up nine sacks. Although it's not clear who will be calling the defensive plays once the regular season starts, it was the kind of debut that could earn Mayo the job. 

It was also the kind of debut that could lead to bigger things for Mayo. Patriots beat writer Tom Curran of NBC Sports in Boston believes that Mayo could eventually be the person who one day succeeds Belichick as head coach in New England. That idea might sound crazy now, but if Mayo is as good going forward as he was in his debut against the Lions, it's something that could definitely have some potential. 

CBS Sports Writer

John Breech has been at CBS Sports since July 2011 and currently spends most of his time writing about the NFL. He's believed to be one of only three people in the world who thinks that Andy Dalton will... Full Bio

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