Curran: What we learned from Kraft, Belichick at owners meetings


Robert Kraft and Bill Belichick met with reporters Monday at the NFL owners meetings in Arizona. A number of topics were covered including the quarterback situation, Kraft's belief in Belichick, and even an intriguing Lamar Jackson-to-Patriots rumor.

While Kraft stressed the need for improvement, Belichick boasted about the last 25 years when asked why fans should feel optimistic about the team heading into 2023. To our Tom E. Curran, Belichick's quip represented the disconnect between owner and head coach.

Curran speaks about that and much more in his latest episode of the Patriots Talk Podcast, in which he breaks down the biggest takeaways from the owners meetings.

Patriots Talk: Judging the Patriots future after Robert Kraft and Bill Belichick NFL owners meetings comments | Listen & Subscribe | Watch on YouTube

Kraft said he "felt bad" for Matt Patricia and admitted the Patriots put him in a "difficult position" by making him the de facto offensive coordinator. Curran believes the decision to make Patricia and Joe Judge in charge of the offense irked Kraft.

"When I say there's a lot going on behind the scenes in which there's inference and there's reading between the lines that has to go on, to me, so much of it goes back to the decision made by Bill in 2022 to have Matt Patricia and Joe Judge run the offense," Curran said.

"Not only did it compromise Mac, not only did Robert Kraft insinuate last year at these owners meetings that he didn't think it was a great idea -- but Bill had the latitude to make that decision -- but it also put Matt Patricia in a bad spot, which I think still wrangles Robert Kraft. Because I think it sold him down the river."

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Curran notes the timing of Belichick's decision, which came shortly after Kraft expressed his desire for the first playoff win of the post-Tom Brady era.

"Think about the landscape in which that decision was made," Curran said. "Robert Kraft the previous year criticized the Patriots' drafting, saying it needed to be better. Then he follows up in 2022 after a 2021 playoff appearance and says, 'I want a playoff win.' Yet the team made a decision in Mac Jones' second year as a quarterback, after a promising rookie year in which Bill Belichick said he made drastic improvement in the offseason, and decided to strap him to an offense in which he was probably more suited to be professor than the guys who were teaching him.

"That wrangles. And that to me refers back to the disconnect between Bill Belichick saying, 'You should have optimism because of the last 25 years' and Robert Kraft saying, 'This is a business. What have you done for me lately?' That's what it comes down to. Success. And Robert Kraft is pushing Bill Belichick on that topic."

Listen to the full episode to hear everything Curran took away from the NFL owners meetings.

Also discussed in the episode: How much pressure is on Belichick? Does everyone believe in Mac Jones? What's the plan for Jerod Mayo? Kraft says spending ‘will never be the issue’ for Patriots. Is Lamar Jackson worth the dice roll? 

Check out the latest episode of the Patriots Talk Podcast on the NBC Sports Boston Podcast Network, or watch on YouTube.

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