In response to russgriswold's comment:
Can you name a deeper RB group in the AFC? We have two 1000 yard rushers (Ridley and Blount), Leon Washington is an experienced scatback, Vereen is likely set for a break out year and Brandon Bolden apparently is loved by Fears and BB. He STARTED for us an UDFA last year on the road in Baltimore.
What UDFA RB has ever done that on a BB team?
As for the D, Tavon Wilson emerged well in the nickel role with reduced snaps as a rookie. How many rookie Safeties have even started for a BB D? Eugene Wilson? Ok, well, he had a HOF type Safety to play next to.
I like the way he progressed for us after his early season over-aggressive play.
In 2002, the only guy to catch passes from Brady were Troy Brown and David Patten. His TEs were brand new with Graham and Fauria.
Our RB group is way more talented now than it was then. Smith came in out of shape and field in 2002 and Faulk was the back up.
So, this "we're doomed" tone to you and others' tone is very premature. I guess that's how spoiled Brady has been in recent years, huh?
First of all, according to all reports, Blount is on the outside looking in and the Patriots 53-man roster going into camp so the fact he was a 1000 yard rusher three years ago is meaningless.
Fred Jackson and CJ Spiller. Ben Tate and Arian Foster. Ray Rice and Benard Pierce. Heck, Chris Brown and Shonn Greene have both had 1000 yard season in their careers. You are totally projecting what you think Vereen can do. I think he has potential, but he has not done it in the NFL yet! Leon Washington's production has drop off precipitously over the past years (15 receptions his final year in NY and 23 total in 3 years - and 48 games - with SEA). (Plus of Ridley, Vereen, Bolden, Washington, and Blount - there is a good chance only 4 of them make the 53 man roster).
Who cares if Tavon Wilson started? He was not good enough to keep the job. He got burned deep late in the Seattle game and early (on essentially the exact same pattern) in the Rams game.
True that in 2002 the only guys WR who had previous experience with Brady were Patten and Brown. They were also the two leading receivers in 2001 (and again in 2002). Edelman was the 6th leading receiver on the team last year. In 2002, four of the top five reception leaders were back, in 2013 one of the top five will be back (if and when Gronk is healthy). You do not think that is a difference?
I, in no way whatsoever, think the Patriots are "doomed" this season. I think Brady and 10 JAGs could probably make the playoffs. I just think you are overrating a lot of players on this team without having seen them on the field together.
There are question I am waiting for training camp, preseason and early regular season to find out the answers to...
On offense, Can Amendola replace Welker's production? Can Vereen replace Woodhead (747 total yards, 7 TDs)? Who will replace Lloyd and Hernandez (1394 yards, 9 TDs).?
On defense, who will be the other starting safety next to McCourty. Will Dennard be there? Will Talib and Dowling hold up healthwise? Can Jones and Hightower take the next step? Who plays next to Wilfork and how productive are they?
I expected the Pats to be 11-5 and AFC Champs in a worst case scenario. The question for me is will they be championship caliber or not.
thank you for slapping down this guys revisionist history. My hand gets tired sometimes...