It sounds like the New England Patriots need to make improvements both on and off the field.
The Patriots stumbled to an 8-9 record last season, missing the playoffs for the second time in three years after two decades of dominance with Tom Brady. While New England has already taken steps to turn things around by overhauling its offensive coaching staff, the team's facilities might be in need of an overhaul, as well.
The NFL Players' Association released its "NFL Player Team Report Cards" for all 32 teams Wednesday, asking a total of 1,300 players to assess their own team in eight off-field categories: treatment of families, nutrition, weight room, strength staff, training room, training staff and travel.
The Patriots ranked 24th out of 32 teams overall, receiving a C-minus or worse in four of the eight categories.
In its presentation of New England's report card, the NFLPA painted the Patriots in a pretty harsh light.
"The player respondents’ feedback from our survey described the club’s facility as old, dated and in need of renovation," the NFLPA wrote. "The staffing of the current facilities was also flagged as an issue in need of improvement, specifically in the weight room and training room. The player respondents’ indicated that facilities and operations at the Patriots can use a refresh.
"Given the results, it is understandable that only 64% of players believe club owner Robert Kraft is willing to spend the money necessary for upgrades, ranking him 26th in this category."
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Considering Gillette Stadium opened in 2002 and is newer than 17 NFL stadiums, the Patriots' team facility marks shouldn't be this low. The survey also noted that the Patriots are one of just 11 teams that don't offer day care at the stadium and one of 14 teams that don't have a family room on site, so it sounds like there are plenty of areas for improvement.
The stadium is currently undergoing major renovations that are set to be completed for the 2023 season, so perhaps those renovations will address some of the issues raised by players. If not, the Patriots could run the risk of turning off players who may be inclined to join a team like the AFC East rival Miami Dolphins, who received very high marks in the survey.
New England was an appealing destination for the past 20 years when the team was a perennial Super Bowl contender. But now that the Patriots have fallen to the middle of the pack, they need to improve their overall operation if they want to retain their top talent and attract key free agents.