Patriots Reveal Plan For Return to "Respectability"

Jan 17, 2024; Foxborough, MA, USA; New England Patriots head coach Jerod Mayo (R) addresses media
Jan 17, 2024; Foxborough, MA, USA; New England Patriots head coach Jerod Mayo (R) addresses media / Eric Canha-USA TODAY Sports

With a 29-38 record in the post-Tom Brady era, much of the shine of the New England Patriots' dynasty has worn off. Factor in New England's most recent 4-13 season and the departure of franchise czar Bill Belichick, and the Patriots are currently a shell of the franchise that earned 17 playoff berths and made 13 AFC Championship Games between 2001 and 2019.

Well, this fall from grace apparently isn't lost on those in charge in Foxborough:

"One high-ranking Patriots executive recently shared the organization's belief that without the right coach and quarterback, it will be a long road back to respectability."

Per Mike Reiss of ESPN

New England has already fulfilled act one by hiring Jerod Mayo to succeed his former head coach, Bill Belichick, on the Patriots sideline. Act two has yet to be decided, with the 2024 NFL Draft set for April 24 in Detroit, Mich.

The weight of the third overall pick, the franchise's highest since 1993, isn't lost on Mayo or Kraft either. Mayo referred to the third overall pick as a step in the journey to "plant seeds and hopefully lead to the next dynasty", while Kraft acknowledged that the pick gives the Patriots "a tremendous opportunity to position itself right".

Reiss' reporting would certainly give credence to the opinion that the Patriots will take a quarterback with the third overall pick. Immediately following his introductory press conference, Mayo may have tipped his hand regarding the team's plan with the pick, announcing to the world that "We’re gonna draft the best player for a position that’s very important. You put the pieces together." Mayo's comments were nearly universally perceived as implying that New England would be looking for their next franchise quarterback through the draft.

Since Tom Brady left for Tampa Bay, New England has started five different quarterbacks under center in the four subsequent seasons. Brady had started 264 of the Patriots' previous 283 regular season games before departing for the Buccaneers. 2021 first-round pick Mac Jones looked poised to take over the reins as the franchise's starting quarterback after a promising rookie season, but his development has taken several steps back over the last two years.

Although new offensive coordinator Alex Van Pelt left the door open for Mac Jones in his comments yesterday, and there have been rumblings about the Patriots giving a "long, hard look at drafting a left tackle with the No. 3 overall pick", the Patriots selecting a signal caller with the third pick seems like the most probable course of action at this point in time.

There will continue to be plenty of smoke and mirrors before the draft, but New England fans should find some solace in the fact that top-level executives in Foxborough are acknowledging that significant changes are needed to restore the franchise to winning ways. John Henry should take notes.

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