Kraft: ‘You want to get the coach mad at me?’
|08.02.10 at 4:23 pm ET|
FOXBORO — Clearly, everyone inside Gillette Stadium and within a stones throw of Patriot Place knows Robert Kraft is the boss.
But don’t ever confuse the Patriots owner with the late Yankee boss George Steinbrenner III.
For exhibit A, listen to Kraft’s response to a reporter’s question on Monday about his thoughts on the team he owns after watching practice earlier in the day.
“You want to get the coach [Bill Belichick] mad at me?” Kraft replied, we assume rhetorically. “I’ll tell ya, I love these tight ends, all three of them,” Kraft added. “Hopefully, that’ll make a big difference for us in the red zone and the running game but there are [also] so many [good] young players on defense.”
Kraft was showing some love for the part of the receiving corps, which has been overhauled – the tight ends. In addition to 32-year-old Alge Crumpler, rookies Aaron Hernandez and Rob Gronkowski have been added to the roster to give quarterback Tom Brady new weapons on offense.
Then Kraft looked ahead to the preseason, which amazingly enough is just 10 days away, with the opener on Aug. 12 at Gillette against the defending champion New Orleans Saints. That will be preceded by two days of practice against the Saints.
“I think a great test will be when New Orleans comes here next week,” Kraft continued. “We have the Super Bowl champions coming here. We’ll work with us for two days and then play them. That’ll be a real good test on where we’re at. Then I think going to Atlanta the next week, we hopefully have found a system that will help us get ready for that first game against Cincinnati here.
“Two years in a row we’ll be facing Terrell Owens. I hope our guys will be ready for it.”
Last year, the Patriots beat Owens and the Buffalo Bills, 25-24, in a miraculous opening night comeback in the Monday night season-opener at Gillette.
You can also count Kraft among those amazed with the return of wideout Wes Welker to the practice field just over seven months after a serious left knee injury that required reconstructive surgery. Kraft was on hand Monday morning for the first practice prior to Monday night’s scrimmage for season ticket holders inside Gillette Stadium.
“You see Welker out there today, he’s really unbelievable,” said Kraft, who related with the height of the 5-9 Welker. “For any guy our size, for all of America, what he represents is so special. His DNA is different because he can take those hits, do things other people just can’t do. And his attitude, what a great person. We’re so lucky to have him here.”