By Nick Villano @nick_villano on June 17, 2014
The New England Patriots have a ton of buzz surrounding them after a busy offseason. Many have them playing the Super Bowl come next February. While they are super talented, there are many red flags that could derail their season. These five things must be keeping Bill Belichick up at night this offseason.
This has been one of the team's main concerns since they got rid of Randy Moss. They don't have that deep threat to stretch the field. The team has multiple possession receivers, but they don't have someone who can outrun a defensive back. They are hoping one of their many sophomore receivers can turn into that, but that's a long shot.
The safety position in all of the AFC East is especially weak, including the Patriots. Devin McCourty has been very good since switching positions, but next to him there is one big question mark. Duron Harmon is currently penciled in there, but nobody is very excited about it.
The Patriots are looking into how Vince Wilfork, Sebastian Vollmer, Jerod Mayo and others will return from season-ending injuries. On top of that, Danny Amendola and Logan Mankins are recovering from other injuries they obtained during the year. If any of these players struggle it will hurt the team's chances.
Rob Gronkowski is so important to this team that he gets his own category. His health is the key to how well this offense will run. They were close to unstoppable when he was in the lineup, but when he got hurt it was a totally different team. If he can play 16 games (admittedly, a big if) then the Patriots could be the favorites.
For the first time in the Tom Brady era, the Pats went to a run-heavy offense in 2013. All four of their main running backs averaged over four yards per carry. Their main guy for most of the season, LeGarrette Blount, left to join the Pittsburgh Steelers, so now the onus is back on Stevan Ridley to carry the load. Can he hold onto the ball and stay out of Belichick's doghouse?
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