How can the New England Patriots be the same potent offense they were last year? Changes have come to Bill Belichick’s team and the questions hang in the air like musket smoke.
Wes Welker was allowed to walk away and he signed a contract with the Broncos. Welker has been Tom Brady’s security blanket, running short an intermediate routes, moving chains, scoring touchdowns. He caught 118 passes from Brady last year for almost 1,400 yards and scored six touchdowns. The Patriots believe Danny Amendola will fill the void left by Welker but that’s as sure as the Continental Army’s resolve at Valley Forge.
Rob Gronkowski is literally the biggest question mark of all. Back surgery is nothing to be toyed with, especially when you’re a stud tight-end that needs to hold up at the point of attack. And he caught 55 balls for almost 800 yards and was Brady’s favorite target in the red zone, scoring 11 touchdowns.
Gronk is recovering from his sixth surgery in the last 18 months. Jason La Canfora reported that: “It has become pretty obvious he won’t be cleared for contact for virtually all of training camp, and spending a considerable amount of time on the PUP list could be ahead as well, depending on the success of the surgery and how Gronkowski’s body responds.”
Missing so much time and being productive when you come back is almost impossible. The Patriots might have half their season over before Gronkowski feels like himself.
Finally, Aaron Hernandez, the Patriots all-world tight end and matchup nightmare, is a person of interest in a homicide that involves a vehicle he rented, the body of a man that was an associate of his, that was found less than a mile from his house, and police say he’s not cooperating. Who knows where this will end but how Hernandez is disaffected by this it seems is far-fetched.
The Patriots have lost a ton of production, have health issues, and legal issues that may derail their hopes of winning a Super Bowl in 2013. Even the great Bill Belichick, a coach I have the utmost respect for, will have a hard time getting this team into the postseason with all that has transpired this offseason.