Throughout the difficult 2022 season, there was an overall assumption about how Patriots owner Robert Kraft must feel.
He made it well known that he wasn't pleased about missing the playoffs in the first season without Tom Brady, but given the circumstances, not too much was made about it. Fast forward two years, however, Kraft spoke candidly about his disappointment in how the team has fared in recent seasons.
Once last season ended, reports emerged alleging the billionaire owner was not happy about personnel decisions that had been made, i.e., Matt Patricia and Joe Judge, which led to a potentially contentious end-of-the-year meeting with Bill Belichick.
But the meeting was said to have been a success, with Belichick choosing to move on from Patricia and bring back old pal Bill O'Brien to take over play-calling duties once again.
Now that we're in the midst of the team preparing for the season with OTAs and training camp shortly, Kraft is once again sharing his outlook on the Patriots' success in the season ahead.
While speaking to NBC Sports Boston this week, the owner mentioned the difficulties New England is facing with an ever-evolving AFC East while also sharing his optimistic view of what's yet to come.
His positive outlook certainly isn't surprising, given his obvious connection to the team. But as an owner, Kraft hasn't been shy about sharing how he feels publicly over the years, especially recently, and if he thought differently, he likely wouldn't have shied away from saying it.
At the same time, however, his optimism shouldn't be considered anything but realistic.
Yes, as he stated, the AFC East has become increasingly more difficult and probably is the most difficult division in the NFL.
Yes, the Patriots lack star power within their roster, which has many questioning how they will compete against some of the toughest competition in the league.
But with what appears to be a successful draft, the addition of O'Brien and Adrian Klemm, plus some under-the-radar quality free agent signings, there's no reason to believe they can't be better than what is assumed at this point in the offseason.
With training camp just around the corner, we'll finally get a better look at the newest members of the roster and how the coaching impacts everything compared to last season. Maybe that will invoke a more universal optimism among Patriots fans and those in the New England media.