The New England Patriots have been renowned for their annual dominance in the passing game. Quarterback Tom Brady has spearheaded the offensive attack for over a decade now, finding a way to get in sync with his wideouts, despite constant personnel changes at the position.
The 2013 NFL season presents Brady with arguably his biggest challenge in his storied career, given the overhaul at the wide receiver and tight end position in the offseason. He will begin the season without any of his top-five targets from last year. Wes Welker and Danny Woodhead departed to the Denver Broncos and San Diego Chargers respectively. Aaron Hernandez is sitting in a jail cell, while Brandon Lloyd is still unemployed.
A mere 21 of Brady’s 402 completions in 2012 were caught by wideouts currently on the roster. Brady therefore has to rely on young and mostly unproven talent. Brady does have the luxury of elusive wideout Danny Amendola, but his injury concerns have clouded his potential in the league. Amendola is the incumbent No. 1 receiver on the club, but after that, most of Brady’s throws will be to wideouts that have never caught an NFL pass.
Brady will have to make do with three of his top-four receivers being rookies, consisting of Aaron Dobson, Josh Boyce and undrafted wideout Kembrell Thompkins. Yet, Brady believes in his young core of receivers that management has given him to work with.
“They’ve got to know that I trust them and care about them and care about what they’re doing,” Brady said. “So, we’re trying to build a rapport with one another, spending time together. That’s with all the players; that’s just not the young players. That’s how teams develop. We’ve got a fun group of people that are really willing to learn and have been very receptive to what we’re trying to do, but we have a long way to go before our first game. We’re going to need all the help and all the time we’ve got.”
It will not be easy for Brady to reach his sixth Super Bowl, but he has succeeded before with a thin wide receiving core. Brady recognizes the challenge of incorporating the new wideouts into the offensive schemes, but he truly believes he can win his fourth Super Bowl with the current assembled roster. Some consider Brady the best quarterback of all-time already, but if he can win a record-tying fourth Lombardi Trophy, he would undoubtedly cement his status as the greatest signal-caller in league history.