Like most fans of his franchise, Patriots owner Robert Kraft was not pleased with the way New England performed this season.
After winning 10 games and qualifying for the playoffs in 2021, the Patriots regressed, sliding to 8-9 and missing out on the postseason with a 35-23 loss to the AFC East rival Bills on Sunday.
One day after the season-ending defeat in Buffalo, Robert Kraft and team president Jonathan Kraft penned a letter to Patriots season-ticket holders acknowledging the team underperformed in 2022 and pledging to make “critical evaluations of all elements of our football operation” to ensure a return to the playoffs in 2023.
Here is the Krafts’ message in full, as shared by 98.5 The Sports Hub’s Joe Murray:
“Unfortunately, our season ended sooner than we hoped (Sunday) afternoon in Buffalo. While we always want to be playing games with playoff implications in Week 18, our expectation was to perform better throughout the season and to advance through the playoffs. We can assure you that no one in our organization is satisfied with the results from this past season.
“In the weeks ahead, we will be making critical evaluations of all elements of our football operation as we strive to improve and return to the playoffs next year.
“When we welcome you back for the 2023 season, we anticipate presenting you with an improved product on the field, as well as many exciting new features and additions to Gillette Stadium. You have helped create a dominant home-field advantage over the past 20 years and we look forward to creating many more memorable moments in the years ahead.
“As always, we are extraordinarily thankful for the support you provide us and the strong foundation our organization has as a result.”
Last March, Robert Kraft said he was “bothered” by the Patriots’ lack of recent playoff success and expected the team to return to contender status this season. Instead, New England failed to make the postseason for the second time in three years despite fielding one of the NFL’s best defenses and returning nearly all of their offensive contributors from 2021. The Patriots now have gone four straight seasons without a playoff win since defeating the Los Angeles Rams in Super Bowl LIII.
Kraft reportedly is unhappy with the results of Bill Belichick’s controversial offensive coaching experiment, which passed departed coordinator Josh McDaniels’ responsibilities to Matt Patricia and Joe Judge despite neither having prior experience calling offensive plays or coaching quarterbacks, respectively.
Fans and media members have called for Belichick to fire or reassign Patricia and Judge and replace them with a proven offensive coach like Bill O’Brien, whose contract at Alabama is up. Such a decision would have to come soon, however, as capable coordinators are in high demand at this time of year.
Belichick echoed many of the Krafts’ sentiments in his end-of-season news conference, saying Monday morning that “nobody’s satisfied” with the Patriots’ performance this season and that the evaluation process for 2023 will begin immediately. He also confirmed he plans to return for a 24th season as New England’s head coach.
“As we do every year, we’ll evaluate everything and try to make the best decisions that we can to move forward and be more competitive, to have a stronger team in the future,” Belichick said. “Robert and I will talk about that, we’ll talk about that as a staff, and certainly individual conversations with many of the players, as we always do. All the players.
“There are some that are obviously more urgent or will be more timely than others, but it will be a comprehensive course of action, as it always is. … The process will start today.”