It’s no secret that Patriots fans are unsatisfied. While the team is a far cry from the bottom of the NFL heap, it’s not exactly the dominating force that it was only a few years ago. That difference is apparent to everyone, and most of all, it weighs on the team’s owner, Robert Kraft.
At the age of 84, Kraft is no stranger to the ups and downs of football franchises, but considering how narrowly he missed his own induction into the football hall of fame last year, one has to wonder what exactly he’s thinking and what he has planned next.
If the hall of fame is his priority, then that brings a few things into sharp focus. For one, the 8-9 finish for the 2022-23 season just won’t cut it. If Kraft can’t quite break into the hall of fame now, more mid-level performances aren’t going to help his case.
There’s also the issue of his age. He’s not getting any younger, and there might come a point when retirement is on his mind. While he’s made no public comments on that matter, it remains a question on many minds.
No, if Robert Kraft wants to be a hall-of-fame owner, then the Patriots need to get back on top, and soon. How will Kraft approach that demand? There are plenty of possibilities and speculations, and we’ll certainly learn a lot in the current off-season, but a few facts remain.
First, Belichick isn’t going anywhere. Sure, a hall of fame bid might look better for an owner who can win with different head coaches, but Belichick isn’t exactly a loser, and there’s little reason to think that the magic is completely gone from the winningest coach in NFL history. Belichick will stay at the helm for the New England Patriots, and yet, some things certainly need to change.
To get back on top, Kraft has to consider a few things. He can invest heavily in one aspect of the game. He could recruit top defensive players and stick with the old adage about defense and championships. Alternatively, he could try to rebuild the once-legendary offensive line that brought the team so much success during the Brady era.
Or, he could take a different route and focus primarily on the coaching staff underneath Belichick. Naturally, this doesn’t come with an abandonment of improving the team’s roster, but in the current salary-cap era, it’s difficult for recruitment alone to bring a team to the Superbowl. When every team is brimming with raw talent, coaching usually makes a crucial difference.
Belichick is more than capable as a head coach, but since Brady left the team, Belichick has lost the bulk of his supporting staff as well. And, this is exactly where new investments hold the most promise.
By devoting everything to the coaching staff, Robert Kraft and Belichick can raise a new generation of incredible coaches and return the team to glory, and that looks to be the key impending change for New England.
While no new contracts have been signed just yet, New England is courting a slew of up-and-coming, younger coaches to fill vacant positions. At the same time, Belichick is considering swapping the veteran coaches to new spots to help train the new staff. You might see Matt Patricia and Joe Judge working on the offensive side of the ball.
The young coaches will learn the Belichick way, and through that tutelage, the team can restore what was lost and win again.
Of course, this is only one part of the massive engine that is modern football, and there may be some surprises in store for New England fans along the way. One thing remains certain. Robert Kraft wants the hall of fame, and he’s going to pursue it with everything he has.
Follow his Twitter page on https://twitter.com/robertkraft0?lang=en