The New England Patriots dominated the National Football League (NFL) throughout most of the 2000s and 2010s. They took home six Superbowl Champions trophies between 2002 and 2019 and came in as runner-up three times. Unfortunately, the Patriots have not won a playoff game since the last time they won the Super Bowl three years ago.
Robert Kraft, who has owned the popular NFL team for almost 30 years, is concerned but not worried about the New England team not advancing in the playoffs recently. He also has faith that his team will turn things around when the new season kicks off in September.
According to Kraft, doing well in the annual drafting of new players is critical to the long-term success of any team. He has high expectations for coach Bill Belichick’s performance in this year’s draft, which he sees as key to developing a stronger team and getting back to the Patriots’ glory days. Robert Kraft also expects Nelson Agholor and Jonnu Smith, acquisitions from the 2021 draft, to step up and be stronger leaders.
Quarterback Mac Jones Plays a Key Role in the Patriots’ Expected Comeback
Mac Jones performed well in his first two seasons in the NFL, and Kraft feels he has matured and grown into a leadership role that will serve the team well in the 2022 season. At the same time, he acknowledges that the offense needs to do a better job of supporting Jones if the team is to consistently win games.
Enter Agholor and Smith
As the 2022 draft approaches, Kraft and Belichick view wide receiver DeVante Parker as the offensive team’s most impressive addition. Parker came to the Patriots in a trade with the Miami Dolphins. The team expects to add more receivers this year, although they may not get them all in the first round of the draft.
During a recent interview with a reporter from The Athletic, Robert Kraft made it clear that Agholor and Smith, free agents from the 2021 season, need to do a better job of catching and advancing the football. He told the reporter that the Patriots are changing what they require of the new team members to capitalize on their strengths while minimizing their weaknesses.
Although Agholor racked up just 473 yards and 37 catches during the 2021 season, the team does not intend to trade him at this point. Instead, he is busy working in the off-season to improve the way he and quarterback Jones work together. The addition of DeVonte Parker should increase Agholor’s playing time, which gives him the opportunity to improve his performance before the season even begins.
Nelson Agholor made a name for himself with the Philadelphia Eagles by playing on the inside for at least one-third of his slots and playing a significant role in slots overall. He has not yet repeated this performance with the Patriots, who put him in the slot less than 10 percent of the time last season. His performance outside the slot never developed as Kraft and Belichick hoped. Along with one-on-one practice time with Jones, the coaching staff will change the number of slots Agholor plays and the way he plays them for the upcoming season.
With the New England team no longer relying on fullbacks, tight end Jonnu Smith will have the chance to develop multiple facets of his position with the team. His moves will closely resemble the U shape rather than charging ahead through a pack of defenders from the opposing team. The Patriots’ coaching staff does not expect Smith to be one of the least-used tight ends this year as he was last year.
As the reporter from The Athletic pointed out, the Patriots have benefitted from adjusting their draft strategy. Kraft has also seen changes he likes in the team’s coaching strategy. Time will tell whether these changes will result in a winning season and advancing through the playoffs, but the team’s history suggests that maintaining a positive attitude is a reasonable stance to take.
About Robert Kraft
Already a successful business owner of multiple companies, Kraft purchased the New England Patriots in 1994 with the intention of bringing a championship to the Boston area as quickly as possible. That is exactly what he did. The team made it to the Super Bowl in 1998, falling 35-21 to the Green Bay Packers. Their dynasty of Super Bowl wins started four years later with a 20-17 victory over the Los Angeles Rams.
The Patriots had won just 19 of 80 games over the past five seasons before Kraft became the team owner. The same strategies he used to transform the Patriots from last place to six-time Super Bowl champions will serve the team well during the brief blip in their winning ways.
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