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Patriots owner Robert Kraft reveals his expectations for 2024 season

Patriots owner Robert Kraft reveals his expectations for 2024 season originally appeared on NBC Sports Boston

The New England Patriots finished at the bottom of the AFC standings in 2023 with a 4-13 record. It was one of the franchise’s worst seasons since owner Robert Kraft bought the team in 1994.

The poor results on the field brought on some significant changes to the organization. The coaching staff has been completely overhauled, including the departure of legendary head coach Bill Belichick, who parted ways with the team after 24 seasons and six Super Bowl wins. Jerod Mayo took over that role and filled out a staff with many new faces.

The roster also has seen plenty of changes since NFL free agency began earlier this month. And, of course, the 2024 NFL Draft will be a major event for the franchise, especially since it owns the No. 3 overall pick in the first round.

Despite the struggles and frustrations from last season, Kraft still has some optimism entering the 2024 campaign.

“My hope and expectations are to make the playoffs,” Kraft told reporters Tuesday morning at the Annual League Meeting in Orlando. “That’s something realistically – we have a new leadership team, we’re going to have a lot of young players we don’t know. A lot can happen. We might struggle more than I want. But the good news when you’re running any business is you try to figure out what the key variables are, and then try to put people in place that you think can react and adapt to what has to happen. I really feel we have a good young team. I just hope we don’t struggle.

“But in the end, everything is chit chat until you get on the field. Xs and Os are where it’s at. Look, for me personally, after my family, the most important thing in my life is winning football games with the Patriots. I try to do whatever I can in the background to try to make that happen. I say that to our fans and believe we’re going in the right direction. We’ve gone through a tough three or four years. But at the same time, we’re privileged to have the greatest coach in the 100-year history of the game who did amazing things. Combined with the quarterback we had for two decades, it’s a pretty high standard.

“But we’re happy we were able to put the pieces in place that allowed that to happen and flourish. Now we have to get back so we’re competing at a range hopefully in a similar position.”

Even though Kraft would love for the Patriots to be a playoff-caliber team as soon as possible, he understands that there needs to be a level of patience. You don’t want to rush the rebuilding process and damage the team’s ability to compete long term as a result.

“We know we have to be patient,” Kraft said. “Everything is new. I think we have 20 new coaches. Just to be able to integrate them into a system. I think Jerod has terrific people skills. I think Eliot (Wolf) and Matt (Groh) have really good knowledge of our product and what has to be done. I’ve told them, ‘Look, I don’t want to do splashy things just to get attention and get good headlines one day. I want us to do the things that are substantive and good for the short term and long term.’

“This will be my 31st season, we’ve never been drafting in the third position. I hope it’ll be similar. I think back to coming in as an owner in ’94 and we were drafting fourth and we got my fifth son, Willie McGinest, and he really kicked some butt and helped bring a certain attitude to the team. We made the playoffs that first year, but who knows? We have a chance to get really good personnel in this draft. Another small thing, a position we’ve never been in, after the draft, people cut players when they fulfil their needs. Some very good players sometimes. We’ve never really been in a good claiming position of number three.

“A lot of little things that can happen and also, the way our coaching, there’s a new feeling in the coaching staff. Everyone is contributing, but in the end, what the bottom line is, how do we do gameday? Wins and losses.”

🔊 Patriots Talk Podcast: Jerod Mayo preaches patience and talks options for Patriots at No. 3 | Listen & Subscribe | Watch on YouTube

It’s not crazy to think the Patriots might be decent next season.

The defense has a good chance to be a top 10 unit, especially with a top cornerback in Christian Gonzalez and a top pass rusher in Matthew Judon returning from injury. The offense should be better coached in 2024, and the quarterback play couldn’t be any worse than it was last season, regardless of whether a rookie starts or if Jacoby Brissett is under center. The Patriots’ schedule also won’t be as difficult in 2024 as it was in 2023.

The AFC is super competitive and getting to seven, eight or even nine will definitely be a challenge. But it’s not an unrealistic goal for the franchise, either.

The most important step the Patriots can take toward achieving that objective is nailing several of their picks in the 2024 NFL Draft, especially their first- and second-round selections. Those two players will play a pivotal role in the team’s success next season and for years to come.