Back in March, New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft said it bothered him that his team hadn't won a playoff game since the 2018 season, and that he expected the club to return to contention as soon as this season.
Kraft's expectations were not met.
After the Patriots' 35-23 loss to the Buffalo Bills, which ended their season at 8-9, Kraft and his son, team president Jonathan Kraft, found themselves writing a letter to Patriots season-ticket holders trying to contextualize another lost season.
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"Unfortunately, our season ended sooner than we hoped (Sunday) afternoon in Buffalo," the Krafts wrote in their letter. "While we always want to be playing games with playoff implications in Week 18, our expectation was to perform better throughout the season and to advance through the playoffs. We can assure you that no one in our organization is satisfied with the results from this past season."
The Krafts then promised a thorough evaluation of what led to New England missing the playoffs for the second time in third years.
"In the weeks ahead, we will be making critical evaluations of all elements of our football operation as we strive to improve and return to the playoffs next year," they wrote.
Could those "critical evaluations" lead to widespread changes? If so, the coaching staff would be a good place to start.
The Patriots ranked near the bottom of the league in nearly every major offensive category this offseason under first-time offensive play-caller Matt Patricia, so it would make sense to bring in a fresh face. Special teams coordinator Cam Achord also could be on the hot seat after his unit finished dead-last in special teams DVOA in 2022.
New England has several roster needs to address as well, particularly at offensive line, wide receiver and cornerback. The Patriots project to have the fourth-most cap space in the NFL at more than $54 million, so they have the resources to spend.
Couple that with an owner who was already disappointed in Bill Belichick's club before it missed the playoffs this year, and it would be surprising to not see major changes in Foxboro this winter.