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#pounditSunday, August 7, 2022

Articles tagged: New England Patriots

Robert Kraft unhappy with Patriots over 1 thing

Robert Kraft smiling

The New England Patriots have been spoiled with success over the last 20 years, which has raised the standard for the franchise.

Since 2001, the Pats have won six Super Bowls, 17 division titles, and they have posted a winning record in 20 of those 21 season. All their fans know recently is winning, and winning in the postseason. The same can be said about ownership.

At the NFL’s Annual Meetings on Tuesday, Patriots owner Robert Kraft said he was not happy with the lack of the team’s winning in the playoffs recently.

“It bothers me that we haven’t been able to win a playoff game in the last three years,” Kraft said.

The team won the Super Bowl in the 2016 and 2018 seasons. They reached the Super Bowl in the 2017 season but lost to the Eagles. The point is they had an incredible run of success that has lifted the standard to absurd levels. It’s not enough to have gone 12-4 in 2019 (Tom Brady’s final season) or 10-7 last season, because they lost in the wild-card round of the playoffs both years. Let’s not even talk about the 7-9 season in 2020 either.

But New England has Mac Jones now, and he looks to be pretty good. His next task will be winning a playoff game, if not for his own success, but just to make Kraft happy.

Photo: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Matt Patricia will have surprising role for Patriots this season

Matt Patricia looking on

The New England Patriots are really doing the most as they try to fill the shoes of former offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels.

Patriots head coach Bill Belichick told reporters on Monday that assistant Matt Patricia will be part of New England’s offensive coaching staff for the coming season, per Mike Reiss of ESPN. Belichick added that Patricia will work alongside Joe Judge with the offense.

It is a very surprising 180 for Patricia, who is a defensive coach. He was the Patriots’ defensive coordinator from 2012 to 2017 and has focused almost exclusively on defense in his nearly two decades coaching at the NFL level. During Patricia’s forgettable three-year tenure as head coach in Detroit, the Lions were underwhelming offensively as well, never finishing better than 17th in the league in total offense.

Granted, Patricia does have some experience on the offensive side of the ball. He began his coaching career with the Patriots in 2004 as an offensive assistant and later became the team’s assistant offensive line coach before transitioning to defense beginning in 2006. It is also going to be a very all-hands-on-deck approach for New England as they look to compensate for the loss of McDaniels, who left to become the head coach of the Las Vegas Raiders. Even Belichick himself will be stepping outside of his usual role come next season.

Photo: Feb 4, 2018; Minneapolis, MN, USA; New England Patriots defensive coordinator Matt Patricia on the field prior to facing the Philadelphia Eagles in Super Bowl LII at U.S. Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports

Patriots bring back ex-Super Bowl hero

Bill Belichick with a headset

The New England Patriots are in need of cornerback help heading into 2022, and they are hoping beloved franchise legend Malcolm Butler can provide it.

Butler has signed a two-year, $9 million deal to return to the Patriots, according to his agent. The veteran cornerback visited with the team earlier this week.

Butler was last with the Arizona Cardinals. He sat out last season due to personal reasons and was released by the team this offseason. The 32-year-old began his career as an undrafted free agent with the Patriots in 2014 and played his first four seasons there.

Few players in NFL history have experienced higher highs and lower lows with one team than he did in New England. The former undrafted free agent made one of the best plays in Super Bowl history to help the Patriots defeat the Seattle Seahawks in Super Bowl XLIX. Two years later, he was benched in Super Bowl LII. The Patriots lost that game to the Philadelphia Eagles.

Belichick never explained why Butler was benched. There have been several theories about why the controversial decision was made. Even Butler says he was never given a reason. Obviously, there are no hard feelings.

The Patriots lost their top cornerback when JC Jackson signed with the Los Angeles Chargers earlier this month. Butler is unlikely to step into that role at this stage of his career, but he should provide quality depth.

Photo: Dec 29, 2019; Foxborough, Massachusetts, USA; New England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick on the sidelines during the second half of their loss to the Miami Dolphins at Gillette Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Winslow Townson-USA TODAY Sports

Oddsmaker paints grim picture of Patriots’ chances in 2022

Bill Belichick on the sideline

Several AFC teams have improved this offseason by way of blockbuster trades and free-agent signings, but the New England Patriots have done very little. At least one Las Vegas oddsmakers believes that it going to show when the 2022 season begins.

The Miami Dolphins made a huge splash on Wednesday when they acquired Tyreek Hill in a trade with the Kansas City Chiefs. While that move hurts the Chiefs in the short term, it undoubtedly made one of New England’s division rivals better. Given all that has transpired this offseason, one Las Vegas oddsmaker views the Patriots as the 11th-best team in the AFC.

That may seem a bit extreme, but is it really? The Patriots finished sixth in the AFC last year. Would that have been the case if the Indianapolis Colts had Matt Ryan instead of Carson Wentz? What if Russell Wilson were the quarterback of the Denver Broncos or Deshaun Watson were leading the Cleveland Browns? Lamar Jackson played through injuries for much of the season, and he should make a huge difference for the Baltimore Ravens in 2022 if healthy. The Dolphins beat the Patriots twice last year, and that was before they had Tyreek Hill. The Los Angeles Chargers have added Khalil Mack via trade and signed JC Jackson, who was New England’s top cornerback last season. The Las Vegas Raiders just traded for Davante Adams.

You get the point. Really, there are probably only three teams you can say with certainty are worse than the Patriots at the moment — the New York Jets, Houston Texans and Jacksonville Jaguars. There are always variables that cannot be accounted for, such as if Mac Jones makes a massive second-year leap. But the reality is several teams have gotten much better this offseason, and the Patriots have probably gotten worse.

Of course, most people didn’t expect New England to go 10-7 last season with a rookie quarterback starting. That is the Bill Belichick factor, and it would be unwise to doubt the future Hall of Famer. Either way, it doesn’t look good on paper. The odds will likely reflect that unless there are major changes prior to Week 1 of next season.

Photo: Oct 10, 2021; Houston, Texas, USA; New England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick reacts during the second quarter against the Houston Texans at NRG Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

Patriots hosting ex-Super Bowl hero for workout

Malcolm Butler warms up before a game

Malcolm Butler was inexplicably benched in his final game with the New England Patriots several years ago, but apparently there are no hard feelings.

Butler, who was released by the Arizona Cardinals last year, is looking to play in 2022 after he sat out last year for personal reasons. Ben Volin of the Boston Globe reports that the veteran cornerback was in New England to visit with the Patriots on Monday.

Butler spent the first four seasons of his career with the Patriots. Few players in NFL history have experienced higher highs and lower lows with one team than he did in New England. The former undrafted free agent made one of the best plays in Super Bowl history to help the Patriots defeat the Seattle Seahawks in Super Bowl XLIX. Two years later, he was benched in Super Bowl LII. The Patriots lost that game to the Philadelphia Eagles.

Belichick never explained why Butler was benched. There have been several theories about why the controversial decision was made. Even Butler says he was never given a reason.

The Patriots could certainly use cornerback help, as they lost JC Jackson in free agency. The 32-year-old Butler would likely come at a reasonable price.

Photo: George Walker IV/The Tennesseean via Imagn Content Services LLC

Report: Tom Brady wanted specific coach to succeed Bill Belichick

Tom Brady nods to the crowd

Tom Brady seemingly grew tired of playing for Bill Belichick, and that is undoubtedly one of the reasons he left the New England Patriots two years ago. While Brady probably never expected Belichick to step down, the star quarterback apparently had a preferred successor in mind.

Albert Breer of The MMQB shared an interesting piece of information this week while discussing the rumors of tension between Brady and Tampa Bay Buccaneers head coach Bruce Arians. Breer, who was appearing on NBC Sports Boston, said Brady would probably want Bill O’Brien to take over in Tampa if Arians were out. The NFL insider believes that because O’Brien supposedly would have been Brady’s choice to replace Belichick.

“I think if it were up to him at this point, among the guys available (it would be) Bill O’Brien,” Breer said. “That’s who Tom Brady helped line up as the head coach if he had won the power struggle with Bill Belichick in 2017. If Belichick was out after everything that happened in 2017, I’m telling you Bill O’Brien would be the head coach.”

Brady and Belichick worked out their issues in 2017 — at least temporarily. They went on to win another Super Bowl together before Brady ultimately departed in free agency.

O’Brien, who is currently the offensive coordinator at Alabama, was an assistant on Belichick’s staff from 2007-2011. He and Brady once had a heated argument on the sideline, but Brady downplayed it and took the blame. Brady also publicly defended O’Brien after O’Brien was fired as the head coach of the Houston Texans.

Brady also had a seemingly close relationship with former Patriots offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels. Some will be surprised to hear that McDaniels wouldn’t have been his top choice to replace Belichick in New England.

Of course, Belichick was never going anywhere. There have been rumblings through the years about him retiring, but none of them have seemed realistic.

A recent report claimed Brady was frustrated with Arians last season. One Bucs reporter emphatically shot that down, and Brady’s decision to return to Tampa is further evidence that the relationship is fine.

Photo: Aug 28, 2021; Houston, Texas, USA; Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Tom Brady (12) jogs off the field after a game against the Houston Texans at NRG Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

Patriots reportedly interested in star free-agent WR

Bill Belichick looks on from the sideline

The New England Patriots are once again aiming to bolster their wide receiver corps this offseason, and they may give serious consideration to signing one of the top players available at the position.

Mike Giardi of NFL Network reports that the Patriots have done “excessive” work on several free-agent wide receivers. One player they have interest in is Allen Robinson. The 29-year-old could be the top receiver on the market with Odell Beckham Jr. recovering from a torn ACL.

The Patriots spent big on the wide receiver position last offseason, but their investments did not pay off in the first year. They signed Nelson Agholor to a two-year, $26 million contract. He caught just 37 passes for 473 yards and three touchdowns. New England also signed Kendrick Bourne to a three-year, $22.5 million deal. He was a bit more productive with 55 catches for 800 yards and five touchdowns.

Mac Jones clearly needs more help. The Patriots are also rumored to be interested in trading for a couple of top WRs, so they seem to be determined to address the need.

Report: Amari Cooper could land with major team if released by Cowboys

Amari Cooper warms up before game

The Dallas Cowboys’ trash could very easily turn into another prominent NFL team’s treasure.

Jordan Schultz of Boardroom reported on Monday that the New England Patriots would have great interest in signing wide receiver Amari Cooper if he is released by the Cowboys. Schultz adds that Patriots head coach Bill Belichick sees Cooper as a true No. 1 receiver for quarterback Mac Jones.

Schultz also mentions the Miami Dolphins as another team with significant interest in adding Cooper as another downfield target along with Jaylen Waddle and DeVante Parker.

On the Patriots’ end, their leading receiver in 2021 was Jakobi Meyers, who came down with 83 receptions for 866 yards. But Meyers is a restricted free agent this offseason, and New England was also recently linked to another notable receiver on the trade market.

The four-time Pro Bowler Cooper caught 68 passes for 865 yards last season in a crowded Dallas offense. He was unseated as the Cowboys’ No. 1 receiver by CeeDee Lamb and now appears to be on the outs with the team. Cooper carries some obvious injury risk but fits a classic Belichick profile — the discarded star receiver (e.g. Randy Moss, Chad Johnson, Josh Gordon, Antonio Brown, etc.) that the Patriots try to rehabilitate.

Photo: Aug 29, 2021; Arlington, Texas, USA; Dallas Cowboys receiver Amari Cooper workouts prior to the game against the Jacksonville Jaguars at AT&T Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports

Robert Kraft reportedly engaged to longtime girlfriend Dana Blumberg

Robert Kraft

New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft turned 80 back in June, but an exciting new chapter of his life is just beginning.

Kraft recently got engaged to his longtime girlfriend Dr. Dana Blumberg. Kraft and Blumberg served as chairs at the amfAR Gala Palm Beach event on Saturday night, which honored fashion designer Tommy Hilfiger. A source who attended the gala told Page Six that Hilfiger congratulated Kraft and Blumberg on their recent engagement while on stage.

“Tommy Hilfiger was the honoree and Robert and Dana were both chairs of the event for Tommy,” the source said. “[Hilfiger] said his ‘good friend Bob Kraft got engaged to Dr. Dana Blumberg’ at the event on stage, speaking to the whole audience.”

A different source told Page Six that Blumberg was wearing “a giant rock” on her finger.

Blumberg, 47, is one of the top ophthalmologists in the country and is based at New York-Presbyterian Hospital-Columbia. She and Kraft began dating in 2019.

Kraft has four sons with his late wife Myra, who died in 2011. The billionaire had to publicly respond to some drama with a previous girlfriend a few years back.

Photo: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Report: Bill Belichick could take on unexpected role with Patriots

Bill Belichick with a headset

The New England Patriots have a major void to fill on their coaching staff after Josh McDaniels was hired as the head coach of the Las Vegas Raiders. Bill Belichick needs to find a new playcaller, and he may have a surprising choice for the job — himself.

There has been talk in recent weeks about Belichick taking on more responsibility with the offense next season. The longtime coach has not announced an official replacement for McDaniels, and ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler and Dan Graziano reported on Sunday that it could stay that way.

“The intrigue deepens on the New England Patriots’ approach to offense without a true play-caller,” Graziano and Fowler wrote. “There’s sort of an open belief leaguewide that coach Bill Belichick could call the plays or, at the very least, have more involvement in the offense. He’s involved in everything, to be sure, but he could really dig in here.”

The Patriots have to replace several offensive assistants. McDaniels took receivers coach Mick Lombardi, offensive assistant Bo Hardegree and offensive line coach Carmen Bricillo with him to Las Vegas.

Belichick is known as one of the greatest defensive minds of all time. We wouldn’t doubt that he can handle a bigger role with the offense, but that doesn’t seem ideal for the Patriots. They will likely be at their best anytime Belichick can devote most of his time to the defense.

H/T Boston.com
Photo: Dec 29, 2019; Foxborough, Massachusetts, USA; New England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick on the sidelines during the second half of their loss to the Miami Dolphins at Gillette Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Winslow Townson-USA TODAY Sports