[caption id="attachment_115" align="alignright" width="150"] Former Pats TE Aaron Hernandez[/caption]
The New England Patriots have been not only one of the most successful NFL franchises in the last decade or so, they've been one of the classiest ones as well, but despite all that, they've had to deal with several issues that occured this offseason.
The Pats have had quite an offseason and it was a up & down one at best. Some of the issues that the team had to deal with throughout the offseason were not only shocking and news making, they could end up being some of the biggest headlines going into the 2013 NFL season.
The one issue that not only shocked the Pats and its fans, it got plenty of attention from the media and the country, was the situation, that involved one of their biggest offensive playmakers.
Last month, former Pats TE Aaron Hernandez was arrested in his home in North Attleborough, Ma, after being investigated by Massachusetts authorites for a criminal case, involving the death of semi pro football player Odin Lloyd. It was determine that the death of Lloyd happened in an industrial park near Hernandez's home and the authorites believed that Hernandez may have had a connection to the death. The Mass authorites also searched Hernandez's home a few times and was later reported that the security camera of the home was destroyed and that house maids were at the home, not too long after the death of Lloyd. As soon as Hernandez was arrested, the Pats released him and eventually was charged with first-degree murder. Hernandez is currently in jail, with no bail, and is awaiting trial.
Another thing that the Pats have had to deal with for awhile now has been all of the surgeries that their other TE, Rob Gronkowski, have gotten this offseason. Gronkowski got hurt during a playoff game last season and since then have had a few surgeries, including one on his forearm and one on his back. Some Experts have said that Gronkowski may not participate in training camp while others have said that he may miss some of the regular season, because of these surgeries. This is a big deal for the Pats, even more than the Hernandez situation, because besides QB Tom Brady, their offense doesn't have many playmakers to choose from. WR Wes Welker got traded to the Bronco's during free agency and Hernandez is no longer with the team, so the question becomes, who do they go to for big plays and who can get the offense going?
The one other issue that was thought to bring some drama to the Pats organization and stir the NFL pot once again was the arrival of QB Tim Tebow. Up to this point, the Tebow mania, for once, hasn't caused too much noise or drama for the team or the NFL and that probably is a good thing right now for both sides. Not too long after the N.Y. Jets relased Tebow, the Pats decided to bring him in and have him compete for the third string QB position and some experts say that he could become either a third down QB or possibly play at TE.
The offseason wasn't the best for the Pats as they took hit, after hit, with the Gronkowski surgeries and the shocking news of Hernandez. Now, they have to recover and and try to move on from those events and get ready for the upcoming season.
Some experts are saying that with the Pats dealing with their turbulent offseason and not knowing when Gronkowski will come back on the field, they could have a down season and may not be as good as they have been. Despite what happend in the offseason and what critics are saying about their season, I still think that the Pats are a good team and will once gain have another productive season this year. There are still some good things about the team to like and they do have a couple of things going for them, that could help them not only overcome the offseason, it could help them have a great 2013 season.
The first and probably the biggest reason why I feel the Pats are still a good team and will have another productive season is that they still have both Brady and their head coach, Bill Belichick. Both of them have been together for more than 10 years and have had nothing but golden success and I expect them to continue thier great chemistry and success this season. I believe that Brady will have another great season and Belichick will continue his coaching magic. if both Brady and Belichick can hit it on all cylinders, like they always do every season, they'll help the team move on from their difficult offseason and show why their the best NFL combo of all-time.
Another thing that the Pats have going for them is that they are playing in a weak division, the AFC East. I think we can all agree that the Pats are once again the favorites to win thier division and they should be, base on how the other teams in the division are shaping up. The Dolphins are improving, but their not ready to take on the big boy of thier division and while the Bills are also improving, they tend to be inconsistent throughout the season and they have to figure out who's going to be their starting QB this season. Meanwhile, the N.Y Jets still have to many issues to solve and I don't know if they can figure them all out before the season begins. I like QB Mark Sanchez and he is talented, but he's been pretty bad for the last couple of season and I don't know if he can play any better than he has been recently. I also believe that the Jets defense will continue to struggle, espically without Darrelle Revis, who was traded to the Tampa Bay Buccanners this offseason.
Although Gronkowski's offseason surgeries may have put some concern among his long term football career, the Pats organization, and it's fan base, I feel that they all need to not worry about Gronk and realize that he's going to be back on field soon. Despite the reports of him maybe missing some training camp or even some of the season, Gronkowski will be back eventually, it's not like he's not going to be gone for the entire season and for all we know, he may be playing in week one of the regular season. I expect Gronk to be ready for the start of the season and I feel that once he does come back, he will energies the Pats offense and make it better and will contunie to be the productive TE that he is and can be and help Brady make some big plays.
The Pats offense have definitely taken a big hit this offseason and although they lost several of thier offensive playmakers in Weker and Hernandez, they were able to get WR Danny Amendola in free angecy. Amendola may not be Welker or Gronkoski, but he is talented and could help Brady make big plays and if that happens, the offense could continue to score lots of points and remain tough for anyone to stop it. I believe that if Brady can continue to play well and if some of the Pats other offensive players can step up like Amendola and fill in the gaps left by Welker and Hernandez, the Pats offense could still have one of the best offenses in the league.
One of the big questions going into the 2013 NFL season will be how will the Pats respond to all of the controvesry and events that happened in the offseason and If there's any team outthere that can overcome some of these things, it would be them. This isn't the first time the Pats had to overcome controvesvery or divesrity.
Back in the 2007, The Pats had to deal with "spygate" and although critic's and fans came down hard on them for that, the team was able to concrete on football and make history as well, as they became the first team to finish the regular season undefeated. Then in 2008, The team had to overcome the devastating ACL injury that Brady got, in the first game of that season. After it was announced that Brady would be gone for that whole season, experts were saying that the team may have a down year and will not be the same team. Despite those expectations, former Pats backup QB Matt Cassell rallied the team and played well and was able to help the team win 11 games and they came close of winning their division.
The 2013 NFL offseson will be something that the Pats won't forget anytime soon and some of the things that happened during that time shocked and surprised not only the team, but their fans as well. I believe that the team can and will overcome their turbulent offseason and are smart enough to know how to move on from those off the feild issues and focus on football.
I think that the Pats are still super bowl contenders and will have a chance of winning the AFC. I definitely believe they'll win the AFC East again, for the millionth time. I think that the Pats will also prove that, despite offseason woes, their still a good team and won't let anyting get in their way of having another successful season.
No matter how bad things got, the Pats have always found ways to overcome circumstances or controvesery and if they want to focus on football and have another great season this year, they'll have to find a way to overcome these latest issues. I expect the Pats to move on and play like they always do and try to win another championship. If the Pats can click on all cylinders and play as hard as they usually do, not only they'll be a very good team, they'll show us that nothing can get to them, no matter how bad things get, and that would be good for the Pats organization and the best way to put thier difficult offseason behind them.