It’s been a rough and crazy offseason for the Patriots for a number of different reasons, and that dynamic offense of 2012 is crumbling beneath our very eyes. Free agency, injury, and the criminal justice system have all taken their tolls on New England’s offense this summer. Let's review how these factors could affect your NFL picks.
Last season the Pats’ offense was tough to stop. They averaged nearly 300 yards passing per game, and they ranked 7th in the NFL in rushing thanks to Steven Ridley. Ridley was a pleasant surprise last season, as the rushing game was the only concern we had about New England at this time last year. Quietly, Ridley rushed for over 1200 yards and 12 touchdowns last season.
Tom Brady had yet another career season throwing for almost 5000 yards and 34 touchdowns. This was the fourth time in his Hall of Fame career that Brady threw 30 or more touchdowns, and four the third time in his career he threw less than 10 interceptions in the season. However, the good times only lasted so long for New England, and even though they could very well overcome, the Pats are looking vulnerable on offense for the first time in over ten years.
The Pats’ offensive demise has been well documented this offseason, and although we could be overreacting just a bit considering the unlucky breaks, there are multiple causes for concern right now with New England.
While Ridley may be back for Brady to hand the ball to, a slew of weapons are now out of the picture from a year ago. Wes Welker, Brandon Lloyd (still unsigned) and Danny Woodhead have all left via free agency. These three guys caught over half of Brady’s passes in 2012.
On top of that, Aaron Hernandez looks like he may not play in the NFL (or even see the light of day very much if convicted of the crimes alleged against him) ever again, and Rob Gronkowski is of course still on the mend from recent surgery. In total, the Patriots have lost 70% of their receiving yards from a season ago, and that total jumps to 86% if you count Gronkowski.
The Pats resigned Julian Edelman and signed Danny Amendola from the Rams to help in the passing game. They could very well bring back Lloyd to help at the X position, but without tight ends that can block and get open when needed, this offense might stumble. In short, if Gronkowski is not healthy by the start of the regular season, I could start selling my stock in the Pats.
If it wasn’t for the Amendola signing, the Pats could very well be failing at this point of the offseason. However, things look salvageable, but I sincerely doubt the Pats will have another year like they did last season. They might have to rely more on the running game this season, but I am not selling my stock in the Pats just yet. Sure, the NFL odds price has taken a tumble, but with a quarterback as talented as Tom Brady, the Pats could never fail an offseason offensive class. However, it might be time to call their parents and let them know about the poor grade. I expect more from them, if they're going to make my sports picks.
My Grade: C-
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