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5 Irreplaceable Players For The New England Patriots During The 2013 NFL Season

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2013 NFL Season: 5 Irreplaceable Players For The New England Patriots

Kirby Lee- USA TODAY Sports

It has been a very interesting offseason for the New England Patriots, and that is putting it very mildly. Wes Welker left the team for the Denver Broncos and the Patriots replaced him with Danny Amendola. Rob Gronkowski continued to struggle with injuries, having multiple surgeries on both his left forearm and his back. Aaron Hernandez was released from the team after being taken in to custody by police in connection to murders. Hernandez is currently sitting in jail after being charged for a murder and it does not look like he will be returning to the football field any time soon. Even with all of these distractions, I think the Patriots are still contenders this season.

Tom Brady's top four receivers last season were Welker, Hernandez, Gronkowski and Brandon Lloyd. Hernandez and Lloyd were released, Welker is also gone and Gronkowski is struggling with injuries. It is safe to say that the Patriots offense will look a lot different this season. Amendola should be a productive piece for the Patriots if he can stay healthy. They added wide receivers Aaron Dobson and Josh Boyce in the draft, but it is unknown whether they will be ready to contribute this season.

There is no doubt that there are a ton of questions currently surrounding the Patriots. How can they possibly make up for all of the production that they are missing from the 2012 season? One thing is for sure, Bill Belichick will find a way. He is one of the most creative coaches in the league and always seems to get production out of nowhere. Not to mention, the Patriots' defense is steadily improving and should be able make up for the lack of offense if needed.

Simply put, with Brady and Belichick still in New England, they still have a shot at a Super Bowl. These two may be the best quarterback/head coach combination in NFL history. I would not be surprised if they are able to piece together a dominant team that competes for another title. That being said, there is little room for error in New England this season and they will definitely need to stay healthy. Here are five irreplaceable players for the 2013 Patriots.

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Danny Amendola

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Amendola will be asked to help replace Welker in the Patriots' offense. Honestly, I think Amendola is a more talented player that Welker. He is faster, more athletic and has better hands than the long-time Patriot. I think he will fit in very nicely in New England. The question that is always surrounding Amendola is his health. He has not been able to stay on the field during his NFL career. Hopefully, that changes this season as the Patriots need to have a healthy Amendola on the field.

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Chandler Jones

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Chandler Jones was very good in his rookie season in 2012. He showed the ability to become a great pass rusher and that helps hide other problems on a defense. While improving, New England's defense still some holes to fill and an elite pass-rusher like Jones will help hide those holes.

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Aqib Talib

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New England's defense really started to take off after they acquired Aqib Talib. They re-signed him this offseason and I think he is a huge part of this defense. Talib is a big, physical cornerback that can matchup against any receiver in the league. He gives the Patriots a guy who can legitimately cover an opposing teams' No. 1 receiver. Talib is an important piece to the success of the Patriots and they cannot afford to lose him this season.

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Rob Gronkowski

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With the loss of Hernadez and Welker, Gronkowski will be expected to have an even bigger role in New England offense. His rehab from surgeries appears to be going well and we could see him Week 1. The Patriots are going to need Gronkowski to stay healthy when he returns, the offense is so much better with him in the line-up.

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Tom Brady

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The Patriots simply cannot afford to lose Brady this season. He is the best in the league at making players around him better. From guys like Troy Brown and David Patten to Deion Branch, Welker and Gronkowski, Brady has always been able to make receivers better than what they were before. I do not think it will be any different this season. Brady is the most important player for New England and they simply cannot lose him.