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These first four Patriots games are going to be very, very interesting

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From a receiving standpoint, I have no idea what to expect.

Super Bowl LII - Philadelphia Eagles v New England Patriots Photo by Larry Busacca/Getty Images

There is only about a week and a half remaining until the Patriots kick off their 2018 season against the Texans at Gillette Stadium, and it doesn’t look like the receiving issues are going to be getting any better before that.

I’ve been searching everywhere to try and find some kind of sign that the receiving core will be OK to begin the season. I’ve been trying to find somebody, anybody, who believes the complete lack of depth at the position isn’t going to significantly hinder the Pats, but I haven’t had any luck. There’s just no way of sugarcoating it. New England’s receiving core is completely and totally depleted.

To recap this offseason … Julian Edelman was suspended for four games, Danny Amendola left for Miami, Brandin Cooks was traded to the Rams, veterans Kenny Britt and Jordan Matthews were both released, as was third-year player Malcolm Mitchell (whose future in New England at one point looked to be incredibly bright).

And last but not least, Eric Decker, the one saving grace who was going to miraculously hold this core together until Edelman returns in Week 5, suddenly decided to retire from the NFL after being a Patriot for three weeks. I don’t want to come off as disrespectful to Decker, who is making the decision he believes is best for himself and his family, but man … the timing could not have been worse.

It’s gotten to the point where I’m now finding myself hoping against hope that the Patriots sign Dez Bryant to a one-year deal, just for the sake of having bodies of some kind on the field to catch passes.

But that’s not going to happen, and the Patriots are going to take the field in Foxborough next week with Chris Hogan, Cordarrelle Patterson, and Phillip Dorsett as their top three receivers. That will be … something.

Unsure of where else to go, I turned to a recent Bill Belichick press conference, hoping he would say something to make me feel a little better about this situation. But of course, everything he said about it was very … Belichick.

“We all have a lot of work to do; we have a lot to prove at every position,” Belichick said via NFL.com. “None of us have done anything this year in the 2018 season, so I think we’re all in the same boat on that one, coaches, players. Whatever position you want to look at, we all have a long way to go.”

It’s officially true. I have absolutely zero idea what to expect out of the first four games of this season. This is going to be very interesting.