Originally posted on Pro Sports Daily  |  Last updated 7/26/13
The white numberless unrecognizable jerseys might as well have been a metaphor. Tom Brady delivered passes to a relatively anonymous group of receivers throughout organized team activities and minicamp and Danny Amendola was the sole target who gained sustainable recognition amid the obscurity of seven dozen numberless jerseys. Today when the Patriots take the practice field for the first day of training camp Brady will see how much progress the pass catchers have made. The Pats will get their numbers but will the digits amount to anything more than question marks? This will be a unique test for the soon-to-be 36-year-old Brady who has lost Wes Welker Aaron Hernandez Brandon Lloyd and Danny Woodhead. Plus Rob Gronkowski is on the physically unable to perform list for an undetermined time. Amendola dazzled in Welker’s absence earning high praise from Brady for a route adjustment but receivers Michael Jenkins Lavelle Hawkins Julian Edelman Aaron Dobson Josh Boyce and Kenbrell Thompkins were either inconsistent or injured. They’re also working in tight ends Jake Ballard and Zach Sudfeld with Daniel Fells and Michael Hoomanawanui. Brady’s greatest request: Trust. “You trust in your other teammates and you trust them to do their job so you can do your job” he said. “The best teammates that I’ve ever had guys like Wes or Deion Branch I never had to worry about. And you know what that allowed me to be able to do my job.” For that Brady needs his younger receivers to meet an extremely high bar. Last year the Pats could plug in Welker Gronkowski and Hernandez and just play. Now the health of the top two targets Amendola and Gronkowski is a fair concern as they each missed five games last season. Amendola sat out 15 games the year before. Beyond them the cast has to string together enough good practices to ensure Brady will look for them during crucial moments in games.
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