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When Robert Kraft addresses the state of the Patriots, will he put Bill Belichick on notice?

How much patience Robert Kraft has with coach Bill Belichick after four years without a playoff win remains to be known.Adrian Kraus/Associated Press

Monday at the NFL owners meetings will be “Meet The Media” day for the Patriots’ top brass. Bill Belichick and the other AFC coaches will speak for 30 minutes at breakfast time, while owner Robert Kraft is expected to hold his annual media gathering with reporters later in the day.

Belichick’s responses probably aren’t tough to predict. He is famously uncooperative at this event, as he does not much enjoy talking about his recent moves in free agency or with the coaching staff. “We do what’s best for the team.” “We’re excited about all our new players.” “I’m not sure, we’ll see how it goes.”


Kraft, though, is a wild card. He’s the guy we all need to hear from.

It was only a year ago at the owners meetings that Kraft unexpectedly turned the heat up a notch on Belichick. Kraft told reporters “it bothers me that we haven’t been able to win a playoff game in the last three years … I’m results-oriented. I expect [the Patriots to contend for another title] as soon as this year.”

Well, make it four years without a playoff win now. The Patriots decidedly did not contend for a title in 2022. Instead, the season was a massive disappointment — an 8-9 record with no playoffs, an offense sabotaged by an inexperienced coaching staff, Mac Jones taking a significant step back, and embarrassing losses due to bad situational football.

Monday, Kraft will have his first opportunity to send a message to the fans for 2023. Will he put Belichick on blast, or back off and try to cool off some of the heat?

Based off the organization’s actions of the past two months, Kraft is unhappy with the state of the franchise and, by extension, the decisions of its football czar.


On Jan. 9, the day after the season-ending defeat to Buffalo, the Krafts sent a letter to season ticket holders assuring that “no one in our organization is satisfied with the results from this past season” and stating that “we will be making critical evaluations of all elements of our football operation.”

After a season without an offensive coordinator, Bill O'Brien was brought back to turn things around on that side of the ball.Jim Davis/Globe Staff/The Boston Globe

On Jan. 12, the Patriots showed a rare sense of transparency, announcing that the team was in discussions for a contract extension for Jerod Mayo, and that it would begin interviewing candidates for offensive coordinator the next week. On Jan. 26, an organization famous for not being big into formal roles and titles announced that Bill O’Brien had been hired as offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach.

These were not announcements Belichick would make on his own if everything were hunky-dory down in Foxborough. This was not business as usual. This was the Krafts letting the fans know that change is needed, and help is on the way.

The free agency period, though, has told a different story. The Krafts created a lot of hope that the Patriots would be aggressive in fixing the offense, but so far, the moves haven’t matched the hype.

Yes, the Patriots have gotten better, which is the clear prerogative of this offseason. Mike Gesicki is definitely a better receiving threat than Jonnu Smith, particularly with contested catches. JuJu Smith-Schuster is definitely faster and more physical than Jakobi Meyers, and should be better after the catch. Riley Reiff should be more consistent than Isaiah Wynn and the backups that played right tackle last year. A top-10 quarterback could definitely win with the Patriots’ current roster.


But the Patriots have a young, unproven quarterback in Jones, who needs as much help as his team can put around him. And the offseason moves haven’t nearly been as bold as Patriots fans had hoped for. Business has been a little more usual.

The improvements at receiver, tight end, and right tackle are only incremental. The Patriots still need an elite wide receiver like DeAndre Hopkins or Tee Higgins to elevate Jones’s game.

The Patriots upgraded Mac Jones' receiving options slightly, but failed to bring in a true game-changer.Joshua Bessex/Associated Press

The Patriots are still just 26th in cash spending for 2023 as of Sunday morning, according to the NFL Players Association ($183.92 million, well below the league average of $207.52 million).

The Patriots have added several players on value deals this offseason, but haven’t made a major splash to let the fans know they are serious about contending in 2023.

The message they have sent so far is that O’Brien, and new offensive line coach Adrian Klemm, are the big splashes.

Perhaps the new offensive coaching staff will indeed be enough to turn the Patriots around. The Patriots somehow still finished 17th in scoring last year despite having a fairly dysfunctional offense under Matt Patricia and Joe Judge. But unless the lightbulb clicks for Jones and he suddenly becomes an elite quarterback, the Patriots still look like a middling team absent a major move at receiver.


So all ears will be on Kraft Monday. Is he happy with the current state of the team? How “bothered” was he by missing the playoffs again? Have the Patriots done enough this offseason? Is Belichick on thin ice?

Kraft’s answers will set the tone for the 2023 season, and how much tolerance he has for the team’s mediocrity.

Ben Volin can be reached at ben.volin@globe.com.