Robert Kraft Has Confidence in Upcoming Season
The National Football League’s Annual Meeting was recently held in its traditional location of Palm Beach, Florida. When addressing the media during a breakfast at the Breakers Resort, Robert Kraft expressed confidence in his organization and their hopes for the upcoming season.
Concerned With What He Can Control
Toward the end of the meeting, reporters asked Robert Kraft about what actions other teams are taking during the offseason. Reporters were especially interested in his take on other teams’ actions with regard to free agency.
Although he admitted the natural inclination to hope that competitors “stumble” during the offseason, Kraft made it clear that he was focused on what he could control. He likened it to his experience running a global paper mill for 50 years. (Kraft is now 80 years old.)
In the paper industry, Kraft’s business succeeded by properly taking care of what was in its control. They couldn’t force competitors’ actions, but instead solely focused on what they could do. Decisions with regard to sourcing, operations, personnel and the like were where the business was able to take actions that brought success.
He views the New England Patriots in a similar light. He’s more interested in the personnel and decisions that the organization can make, than the decisions that other teams might make.
Confident in Coach Bill Belichick
Multiple times, Robert Kraft pointed to Bill Bellichick’s record of success as the foundation of much of his confidence. Even though the New England Patriots have gone through a three-season drought in which they haven’t won a single playoff game, Bellichick has a prestigious record of not only winning games — but Super Bowls too.
Because he respects Bellichick’s ability as a coach, Kraft said that he doesn’t try to interfere with coaching decisions. This is most pertinent as it applies to securing coordinators this year.
The New England Patriots didn’t have either an offensive coordinator or a defensive coordinator at the time of the breakfast meeting. This has puzzled fans and is one of the questions that reporters had. Kraft admitted that it also didn’t necessarily make sense to Kraft himself.
Bellichick has non-conventional ways at times, but they’ve proven successful over the years. Kraft continues to rely on him and be confident that his methods will lead to the right coaching staff, and ultimately to success on the field.
Hopeful for Quarterback Mac Jones
As evidence of why Bellichick still has Kraft’s confidence, the owner pointed to second-year quarterback Mac Jones. Belichick was heavily involved in assessing Jones, signing him, and ultimately giving him the starting job as a rookie.
Kraft didn’t point to Jones’s success during games last year, but rather what he’s observed Jones does between games. According to Kraft, Jones devotes much more time to the game, watching film, working out, and practicing. He’s constantly at the Patriots’s facility for both team and individual development. Few other rookies have worked as hard as Jones, evidently.
The media received further commentary from Kraft on Jones’s character. He described Jones as being well-liked by his teammates, which is important for the team’s leader to be. According to Kraft, Jones is humble despite being an excellent player. Part of the might have been attributed last year to his status as a rookie, but it’s also an aspect of who he personally is.
View on Free Agency
The New England Patriots have notably not made any major free agency signings, whereas other teams do have star new players. As an owner, Robert Kraft shared a slightly different view than the fans and the media sometimes have.
While major signings around the annual meeting make for good headlines, what matters is who’s on the field during the most important games. Kraft knows how important the entire signing period is, and not just the beginning. The Patriots may have some important signings before the deadline, and those signings would be players that are on the team when it’s time to win playoff games.
At the same time, Kraft tempered expectations for the Patriots’ free agency plans. All NFL teams must adhere to a salary cap, and the Patriots spent a lot on personnel last year (partly because they invested in Jones).
Learn more about Robert Kraft’s NFL record here: https://www.pro-football-reference.com/executives/KrafRo0.htm