Kraft: Let down by Pats doc; vows survey fixes

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ORLANDO, Fla. — Robert Kraft said he is “disappointed” at the portrayal of the New England Patriots’ championship teams in a recent documentary series and announced plans to upgrade the organization’s facilities in the wake of poor reviews in this year’s NFL Players Association survey.

Kraft addressed reporters for 15 minutes Tuesday at the annual league meeting, and among the topics he was asked about was “The Dynasty,” a 10-part documentary series directed by Matthew Hamachek on Apple TV+. The Patriots turned over their full internal video archives for the documentary, which was released in February, with Kraft and prominent members of the organization agreeing to lengthy, sometimes revealing interviews.

“I felt bad that there was so much emphasis on the more controversial and let’s say ‘challenging’ situations over the last 20 years,” Kraft said.

“I wish they had focused more on our Super Bowl wins, our 21-game win streak. I felt bad there were players who gave hours and hours of interviews and they felt only the negativity [was used]. … So a little disappointed that there wasn’t more of a real positive approach — especially for Patriot fans who have lived the experience with us.”

Former Patriots players Devin McCourty and Rodney Harrison, who were interviewed for the documentary, have been among the critics. McCourty, who said “I felt like I got kind of duped,” believed the documentary was slanted against former coach Bill Belichick.

On Tuesday, Kraft was asked to comment on those who felt Belichick was unfairly maligned in the documentary.

“Look, I’ll state this clearly: I feel so privileged that we had Bill here. We hope when he’s finished [coaching], that we’re going to have a chance to honor him the way we will do with Tom Brady this year. … I look forward to the privilege of putting Bill into the Patriots Hall of Fame one day in the future,” Kraft said.

Meanwhile, in the most recent NFL Players Association survey, the Patriots ranked 29th out of 32 teams. Their weight room ranked last in the NFL, and it was noted that they are one of seven teams that don’t provide day care support for players’ children on game day.

Kraft highlighted changes to come in those areas under first-year head coach Jerod Mayo and director of scouting Eliot Wolf, who has final personnel authority.

“I must tell you, I was unaware of how bad that was,” Kraft said. We’ve had a plan, and we put in place, where we’re committing a whole new facility adjacent to ours that has been discussed with the young leadership team — a building that will be in excess of $50 million that will have the most [modern] facilities.

“We have to correct anything [unfavorable]. I was not aware, even of this day care issue. That’s something that’s fixable and we want to do. Look, the players are the heart and soul of the business. I’d be very surprised if that didn’t improve.”

Kraft expressed optimism about the Patriots’ direction under Mayo and Wolf, believing improvements have been made by retaining some of the team’s own free agents, such as offensive lineman Mike Onwenu, who signed a three-year, $57 million contract earlier in March.

At the same time, he acknowledged how the team missed out on free agent receiver Calvin Ridley, who signed a four-year, $92 million deal with the Tennessee Titans.

“As a foundation, if you want to win consistently, you have to draft well and then get those players on the second contract. We started to do that this year,” Kraft said.

“We pursued the people we wanted in free agency [from other teams]. There was one outstanding receiver [Ridley] that unfortunately we couldn’t close. It was not because of finance. He made clear his [wife] wanted to be in the South. And we had a situation where the taxes were, like, almost 10% higher; we offered, or were willing to keep going at that premium, but he didn’t want to be in the Northeast. And part of it might be the quarterback situation as well.”

Along those lines, Kraft said the fan in him hopes the Patriots select a quarterback with the third overall pick in the draft but said he will defer to Mayo, Wolf & Co. The team currently has veteran Jacoby Brissett, 2022 fourth-round pick Bailey Zappe and second-year player Nathan Rourke on the depth chart.

“In the end, you can’t win in this league consistently unless you have a first-rate quarterback and a first-rate coach,” Kraft said. “On the other hand, a lot of people are really desperate to move up, and so we’re going to be open to whatever can come our way. One way or another, I’d like to see us get a top-rate, young quarterback.”

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