After acknowledging in March that he was “very disappointed” with the Patriots’ 2022 season, Robert Kraft echoed a more optimistic message about New England’s chances of a bounce-back season on Thursday.
While speaking to ESPN’s Mike Reiss and other reporters at the Myra Kraft Community MVP Awards luncheon at Gillette Stadium, Kraft explained why he’s encouraged by this revamped roster.
“I’m excited to have football back,” Kraft said. “I liked our draft this year, and I hope that translates on the field. I know the guys are working very hard. I think we have the most difficult division in the NFL — the best balance of teams. All the other three teams are good, so we’ll have our challenges. But I’m really hopeful about this team.”
It’s still far too early to size up New England’s 2023 draft class and whether or not it can make an immediate impact this fall. But last month, Kraft said on NFL Network that New England was able to select all seven players it initially tabbed on its draft board.
“I was thinking, draft day, at the end of draft day, my eldest son Jonathan and I were chatting and I said, ‘This was a great, great draft. I’m really optimistic about the team,’” Kraft said. “And he said, ‘Dad, you do that every year. You say that every year.’ But I really believe it.
“We were able to get the top seven picks that we had identified before the draft. I think it gives us a good balance of what our needs are. I think our free agent pickups, and getting [offensive coordinator] Bill O’Brien in, will make a big difference and I’m very hopeful for the team.”
O’Brien’s steadying influence on an offensive unit marred by dysfunction in 2022 should help New England make a push for the playoffs, especially if quarterback Mac Jones rebounds from a poor sophomore campaign.
Conor Ryan can be reached at email@example.com.