Patriots owner Robert Kraft spoke to reporters for the first time since his team finished 7-9 last season on Wednesday. Kraft described watching the 2020 team as a “horrible” feeling, and believes the Patriots are making changes in how they operate to get back in contention.
Some of those changes we’ve already seen, like the massive amount of money spend in free agency. Others could be on the way, with Kraft mentioning he’s seen “a new approach” when it comes to the draft.
Of course, success with their new strategies hinges on who is under center, which was a popular talking point during the 30-minute discussion. As things currently stand, Kraft’s views the Patriots’ quarterback room as “a situation where we have at this point in time – we’re trying to do what’s the best thing for us.”
Even though he doesn’t feel the position is solidified, Kraft didn’t put last year’s struggles solely on the QBs. “I think in fairness to Cam [Newton], I’m not sure he had proper weapons around him last year. And then he got COVID and there were a lot of things that happened,” Kraft remarked. “And I don’t know that Jarrett [Stidham] has ever really gotten a fair shot. So we have to wait and see what happens.”
Kraft was highly complimentary of Newton. However, when asked if he views the 31-year-old as a potential long-term option for the team, was more non-committal.
“I really enjoy getting to know him last year. I’ll tell you, the players on the team in the locker room really love the guy,” Kraft mentioned, before touching on the X’s and O’s element of Newton’s future with the team. “I trust Coach Belichick’s ability to build a team and put the right players in the best position to succeed.”
As for Stidham, count Kraft as one of those Patriots fans who still views the 2019 fourth-round pick as an unknown. I’m not sure he’s really been tested. I’m a really big fan of his,” Kraft said. “I think he’s a great young man, and I know that he’s eager to compete and look for an opportunity to play. One thing I liked is he’s shown great initiative in putting this workout together on his own out in California.”
Asked about the draft, and the potential of a blockbuster deal to move of and take one of the top arms in this year’s class, Kraft mentioned how tough it is to develop a high-quality starting quarterback, regardless of where they’re picked. “This isn’t something where you get algebraic formulas,” he joked. “Think of all the personnel wizards who passed for six rounds of Tom Brady.”
Still, Kraft acknowledged that the Patriots’ quarterback situation is a work in progress, adding that “we have to find a way to judge Stidham or someone new we bring in,” and “one way or another, we have to get that position solidified.”
The Patriots are in this spot to begin with, due to the departure of their quarterback of two decades, and Kraft’s close friend, Tom Brady. Kraft was asked if he regrets letting Brady get away after seeing the team without him, but wouldn’t go that far.
“I would have loved for him to retired as a Patriot. But in life things just happen in a way that – you have to balance a lot of things. After 20 years, I thought he was entitled to make a decision that was best for him,” Kraft noted, before adding “no one knows on the outside everything going on.”
However, don’t think Brady’s departure was what fueled the Patriots’ sudden aggressive approach to team building, as some have speculated. “Look, I love Tom Brady. And he’s great. But he’s moved on,” Kraft explained. “What happened here last year was not to our liking, and we had to make the corrections.”
Alex Barth is a writer and digital producer for 985TheSportsHub.com. Any opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect those of 98.5 The Sports Hub, Beasley Media Group, or any subsidiaries. Thoughts? Comments? Questions? Looking for a podcast guest? Let him know on Twitter @RealAlexBarth or via email at abarth@985TheSportsHub.com.