Power bothered by the Patriots’ 3-year playoff slip

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PALM BEACH, Fla. – New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft expressed frustration over his team’s recent landslide, but he has hope for the future led by coach Bill Belichick and quarterback Mac Jones.

“I’m a Patriot fan, big time, first. More than anything else, it bothers me that we’ve not been able to win a playoff game in the last three years,” Kraft said Tuesday from the NFL’s annual meeting.

“After my family, there’s nothing more important to me than the New England Patriots and winning football games. It’s my passion, so whatever I can do – hopefully in a small way to make it happen – I’m there. I” I’m not happy we have not won a playoff match in three years.

The Patriots’ last postseason victory was their 13-3 victory over the Los Angeles Rams in Super Bowl LIII.

The next season, in 2019, they won the AFC East, but lost to the Tennessee Titans in the wildcard round at home in quarterback Tom Brady’s last game with the franchise.

With Cam Newton as the quarterback in 2020, the Patriots finished 7-9 and out of the playoffs. Last season, Jones helped them to a record of 10-7 and a wildcard spot, but the team was blown out in an embarrassing 47-17 defeat to the Buffalo Bills.

It’s a drought that Kraft and Patriots fans are not used to after the team’s dynastic run in 2001-2018, which included six Super Bowl championships.

“I think we had a period of two decades that was incredible with a pay ceiling,” he said. “We need to find a way to maintain it and keep it going.”

Kraft identified the draft as a factor in the recent dive, but the Patriots’ selection of Jones in the first round last year (15th overall) – along with others such as defensive tackle Christian Barmore and running back Rhamondre Stevenson – has him optimistic.

“I’m glad I think we had a good draft last year and made up for what happened the previous four years or so,” he said. “I look forward to hopefully having a good draft this year. It’s the only way you can build your team in the long run and consistently that you have a chance to win – is to have a good draft.”

Asked about the possibility that it could be a slower process for the Patriots to become a candidate, Kraft said: “I expect that to happen as soon as this year. I think we have taken on the commitments as an organization. I think we have a lot of talent – some wonderful young men from last year and a few in the weeds from before.

“These young quarterbacks, the good ones, in the second year have usually grown a lot. I’m a big fan of Mac Jones. You can see how hard he works. He wants everything to go right. He gives time and energy. , and his personality as a team man.

“So we have a chance. Without a good coach and a good quarterback, no matter how good the other players are, I do not think you can win consistently. Hopefully I think we have both – an excellent coach and a good youngster prospects as a quarterback. “

The Patriots loaded up in free agency last offseason, spending a whopping $ 163 million in guaranteed money at the time, according to data from the Roster Management System.

While other AFC teams have made similar aggressive moves this offseason, the Patriots have not. But Kraft said he still sees opportunities for the team to improve.

“I do not think that free agency is over. I know the big expenses – remember, we have a wage cap, so there is only so much we can do in that area. I think we have an opportunity to raise “People up, right along the way, all the way down to the last cuts. That is for me when the free action is over,” he said.

“I’ve seen it the second year – people are getting really excited about the headlines now, but in the end it’s what’s happening all year long.”

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