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Patriots owner Robert Kraft on 2-7 start to season: 'This isn't what we were expecting to happen this year'

Playoffs were the goal and expectation for New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft this year.

A return to postseason prominence, however, now seems like an unlikely scenario nine games into the 2023 season.

The Patriots enter their game against the Indianapolis Colts on Sunday in Germany at 2-7 -- tied for their worst record through nine games in head coach Bill Belichick's career in Foxborough. They have the worst record in the AFC. The offense is anemic, and Mac Jones' future as a franchise quarterback is uncertain.

"It's really disappointing, and I had hoped that things would be a lot better as I know our fan base did," Kraft told NFL Network's Rich Eisen on Sunday on NFL GameDay Kickoff. "I hope today is a chance to reset and make this a much better year. This isn't what we were expecting to happen this year."

Back in March during the Annual League Meeting, Kraft met with the media and laid out his vision for the upcoming campaign -- one that would follow a disappointing 8-9 season in 2022 that was marred by an ineffective experiment of having an offense led by assistants Matt Patricia and Joe Judge.

"Very important. I think that's our objective," Kraft said in March of returning to the postseason. "... We want to get back to winning as best we can."

That certainly has not transpired thus far this season.

The Patriots brought Bill O'Brien back as offensive coordinator with the hope that would get Jones back to the success he saw as a rookie, but New England entered Sunday's game averaging 15 points per game (31st in the NFL and the fewest by a Pats team since 1993, per NFL Research). Jones has continued to regress, as well. His 80.2 passer rating stands as the worst of his three-year career, while his completion percentage (64.8), passing yards per game (206.8) and yards per attempt (6.1) would also all be career lows.

As the losses have mounted, the future of Belichick on the sideline has become a prominent topic in New England -- something impossible to imagine just a few years ago.

Belichick was asked on Nov. 6 if he believed he was coaching for his job, to which Belichick responded, "I'm going to control what I can control and get ready for the Colts."

NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport reported Sunday morning that Kraft is not inclined to fire Belichick during the season.

Kraft told Eisen on Sunday that he hopes their game against the Colts in front of an international audience provides the Patriots the opportunity for a reset, stressing how important success in the International Series means to him.

"Very much," Kraft said when asked how badly he wanted to win in Germany. "I had fans come up on the street to me who had watched Matthew Slater's dad, Jackie, play here 33 years ago. They remembered plays he had made. I used that as an example to speak to the team after practice and say, 'except for the Super Bowl, I don't know that there are any other games that create the memories that these international games do, where people get so little of them.' It's a great chance to make a mark and great memories."

Kraft donned a blue square pin during his interview on NFL Network, the symbol of a "Stand Up to Jewish Hate" campaign Kraft launched earlier this year. The goal of the $25 million campaign is to call out hate against all communities and Kraft was asked about the NFL's and players' role in fighting the spread of antisemitism and Islamophobia.

"They all have platforms – and speak out against (hate)," Kraft said." I know our players of color have experienced discrimination and they can relate to that as well. I think it's incumbent upon the NFL, businesses, other sports leagues to all stand up against this hate."

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