From High Hopes... to a Harsh Reality

Its funny, but it seems such a minor thing now... those Tim Tebow days of Summer.

Perhaps it was a move of brilliance by the Patriots' PR department to get BB to bring him in, perhaps BB himself knew that everyone would be so focused on the Tebow debate, that they would lose focus of the more important issues and concerns.

How else could you explain our general nonchalance about losing Hernandez forever, and Gronk for a large chunk of the season... this news coming on the heels of Welker leaving to join the great Forehead in Denver.

Basically, from the midpoint of 2010 until the end of 2012, the weapons Brady had were Hernandez, Gronk and Welker... if you could stop those three, you could stop the Patriots.

And honestly, if you want to evaluate that offense even more, in conjunction with those three, Woodhead was a pretty clutch guy during those two and a half years as well... he had the uncanny ability of scampering through a bevvy of defenders to get the needed first down or TD.

But still, we thought for sure out of Jake Ballard, Zack Sudfeld, Fells and Hooman the Patriots would be fine, in fact we argued that perhaps they were all so good, that the Patriots would carry all four into the season and put Gronk on PUP. (And there is a case to be made now that perhaps they should have, considering how mightily the offense has struggled and the growing concerns over Gronk's return)

So... the Patriots were suddenly without their two TEs... two of the best players at the position in the NFL... two guys the offense had revolved around for more than two and a half seasons.

The Patriots had those two, plus Fells and Hooman last season...

Now they have Hooman, and some guy or two they picked up off the street...

Similarly the 3rd down RB/HB situation has taken the same type of hit, last year they had the scatman Danny Woodhead as their primary go to guy, with Vereen proving to be a very capable sub and alternate for him.

The Patriots now have neither Woodhead, nor a healthy Vereen. Leon Washington would be their third option, but he seems to have caught the injury bug as well. So... the Patriots essentially don't have that type of 3rd down back at all right now.

Giving Brady outside targets like Dobson and Thompkins becomes rather irrelevant when they lose the core of the offense. And Hernandez, Gronk, and Woodhead made up a good chunk of that core the last three seasons.

Only Welker has been adequately replaced, between Amendola, Edelman and Boyce, his loss has been accounted for and the production is still there.

But losing the other key players/positions that they have, to injury or otherwise, all those weapons and talent that could attack the middle so well, cannot be made up for by a couple rookie WRs on the outside. This type of offense doesn't cater to Brady's strengths, let alone his age/immobility factor. This is the type of offense that will have him injured before the season is over... much like we saw in 2005 - 2009... before O'Brien rebuilt the offense and jettisoned Moss and the constant go-deep mentality.

For sure the Patriots needed a outside target that Defenses would have to respect, preferably two of them, that would have opened things up for the TEs and Backs so much more, and made the Offense so much harder to stop.

But what the Patriots have now, is an offense that is without those TE and Back weapons, one that is now reliant on those outside threats to win the game for them... and that's not going to prove to be a winning formula.

Until the situation changes... and Gronk and Vereen return... and/or they find other players to step in and fill the roles of the players lost/injured this offseason... the offense will continue to struggle against good Defenses.

And there typically is nothing but good Defenses in the Post season. So its not tough to project where things are headed if the problems on offense stay the course this year.

The views expressed in these FanPosts are not necessarily those of the writers or SBNation.

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