New England Patriots

What Robert Kraft is looking for in next Patriots head coach

Whoever replaces Bill Belichick on the Patriots sideline will have high expectations.

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As the Bill Belichick era comes to a close in New England, the focus shifts to who will succeed the greatest head coach in NFL history.

While addressing Belichick's departure on Thursday, Patriots owner Robert Kraft declined to delve deep into what the future holds for the franchise. However, toward the end of his press conference, he briefly touched on what he'll prioritize during his search for a new head coach.

"We're looking for someone who can help us get back to the playoffs and win," Kraft said. "Believe me, after my family, this is really one of the two most important assets in my life. So I promise you I'll be focused to do the best I can do to make sure we're putting ourselves in the best long-term position to win for many years."

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With a 4-13 record in 2023, the Patriots failed to clinch a playoff berth for the third time in four years. That was the final straw for Kraft, who acknowledged the recent struggles while explaining the decision to move on from Belichick.

"The last three years have been pretty tough," he said. "What's gone on here the last three, four years isn't what we want. We have a responsibility to fix it to the best of our ability."

As far as potential candidates to replace Belichick, our Phil Perry reports linebackers coach Jerod Mayo "remains the favorite" for the position. If the Kraft family has a change of heart, they could opt for the more experienced Mike Vrabel, who was relieved of his duties as Tennessee Titans head coach after six seasons (three postseason appearances). Kraft expressed his desire to act "very quickly" in naming Belichick's successor.

Belichick ends his Patriots career with six Super Bowl victories (nine appearances), 17 AFC East titles, a 266-120 regular-season record, and a 30-12 postseason record in 24 seasons.

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