New England Patriots: Why Fans Should Be Nervous, Not Worried, For the Upcoming Season

patstcThe NFL offseason hysteria that has gone on in New England has been well documented by league wide and national media sources alike.

Superstar wide reviver Wes Welker was traded to the Denver Broncos and Peyton Manning, a longtime foe of one Tom Brady.

Rob Gronkowski, a favorite target of Brady, required another surgery and there is no timetable for his return.

Athletic tight end Aaron Hernandez has been involved in a greatly publicized murder case, cut from the team and will likely face a lengthy trial and jail time.

Cornerback Alfonzo Dennard was also arrested, but for a DUI. However, Dennard is at training camp with the team. Nonetheless, questions will always arise over his wrongdoing.

Tim Tebow, and the ensuing media circus that comes with the polarizing quarterback, was signed by the Patriots and has already raised questions about what position he will play.

That is because Brandon Lloyd, Deion Branch and Danny Woodhead are all not going to be with the Patriots heading into 2013. Instead, the talented but injury prone wide receiver Danny Amendola will be catching balls from Tom Terrific.

Yes, this is a weird time to be a Patriot fan.

There is so much hysteria surrounding New England that it seems the “Patriot Way” is falling apart.

Yes, the team will go into this upcoming season without any of the top five receivers from 2012.

The offense is crumbling apart and there are still lingering problems with the defense.

Some are going absolutely crazy, claiming that New England will crash and burn in 2013. Others are remaining perfectly fine and saying that as long as Brady is a Patriot then everything will be flawless.

Fans shouldn’t be as pessimistic as the former, but cannot also be as optimistic as the latter.

No one knows what will happen in Foxborough this season. The tumultuous offseason could get inside the heads of the players and the product will be a string of losses. On the other hand, Brady could lead the team, brilliantly responding to adversity in thrilling fashion.

It isn’t right to claim that Brady will be the savoir of the Patriots, with very little talent around him. However, it also makes little sense to be incredibly worried about the team when number 12 is under center.

Patriots fans should be nervous going into the 2013 season, but not freak out in any which way.

Brady has none of his favorite targets, but instead must throw to the oft-injured Amendola. The secondary is still incredibly weak, ranking 29th in the NFL for 2012. The road will be hard, as New England plays a .508 strength of schedule, which is the 14th toughest in the league. The lack of a strong vocal leader to face all the off-field hardship will be glaring (Brady is more of a lead by example guy). Health will be a huge issue for this team with a laundry list of injuries, including Gronkowski, Brandon Spikes and Aqib Talib.

But, Vince Wilfork is still clogging up the middle and Bill Belichick is still pacing the sidelines. Julian Edelman hasn’t gone anywhere and could morph into a second Welker. Running back Stevan Ridley broke out last season to the tune of 1,263 rushing yards and should continue that pace in 2013. The incredibly versatile Shane Vereen and Tim Tebow could be plugged into a variety of different positions. Brady will find a way to take the limited talent he has and make them better. Following that formula, expect tight end Jake Ballard to catch some balls this season.

For the first time in a long time, the Patriots are dealing with talent issues and off-field issues alike.

The roster right now just isn’t good enough to succeed week after week and this offseason has turned New England into the biggest circus in the NFL.

However, being nervous is the appropriate reaction for fans, not worry or unfounded optimism.

Then, once the season gets under way, that nervousness can become apprehension or excitement depending on what product the Patriots put on the field.

Because no one really knows what will happen in the season following a crazy couple months.