The New England Patriots have been making headlines for all the wrong reasons recently. Whether it’s lopsided losses, losing primetime game slots or analysis aimed at their offensive ineptitude, it hasn’t exactly been a flattering newscycle of late for the Foxborough football squad. And now a leading national football voice has put to page one of the biggest “What if…?” scenarios imaginable.
In his most recent “Football Morning In America” column, a weekly goliath of a read centered around game recaps, football interest stories, news and speculative talk, NBC Sports’ Peter King made mention of the Patriots a few times…and none in a terribly flattering capacity. But it was the final mention that turned heads and raised eyebrows.
First came an anecdote about an NFL scout texting Peter about how unfair it is to watch Mac Jones and Josh Allen throw in the same game (hard to disagree). Then came his “Goat of the Week” award, which went to Patriots Senior Football Advisor/unofficial play-caller Matt Patricia (again, hard to disagree), for the Pats’ anemic offensive output versus Buffalo. Then came this whopper about the future of coaching in New England.
Says King, the longtime national football scribe, “I think Robert Kraft, who is 81 and will enter his 30th year of Patriots ownership in 2023, is not in this to rebuild deliberately. He has to be looking at the dung-show on the Patriots’ offensive staff and wondering why Belichick left the offense so wanting this year. Anyway, I can’t see anything weird happening this year. But I have my antennae up about the Patriots for 2023.”
Insert emoji for trying to loosen a tight collar here.
Again, King is only speculating here, not working off any direct knowledge or sourced intel. However, for someone as plugged in and aware of organizational moves, histories and tendencies, it’s alarming to think of how far this could go. Could King really be saying that a flat finish or losing record, perhaps, for the Patriots could lead to the Kraft family and Patriots uncoupling from the Belichicks? That would be an earthshaker both nationally and regionally.
Bill Belichick spoke earlier to WEEI, saying it’s too late in the season to change offensive play-calling scheme and structure, basically telling us Matt Patricia will continue calling plays this season…though his frustrations were hardly a ringing endorsement for Patricia in that role going forward. Still, if Robert Kraft were to be so dissatisfied with the lack of playoff wins, which would extend to four years potentially this postseason, not to mention offensive growth that he would consider moving on from the greatest coach in franchise and league history? No word short of shocker would describe that move aptly.
From QB growth to offensive stability to postseason opportunities to potentially job security across the team, suffice to say there’s a lot riding on these final five games for the 2022 New England Patriots.