Originally written on NESN.com  |  Last updated 4/2/13
Wes Welker is gone, but Tom Brady is already moving on. Brady was at USC on Tuesday working out with new Patriots wide receiver Danny Amendola, trying to get a head start on the connection with his new primary target. Offseason workouts were a staple for Welker and Brady during their six seasons together in New England. The two were close friends, so  a natural connection was there, but it was their extra time together out on the football field that truly made them great. Now, Brady is trying to break in Amendola with the same routine. Welker’s departure was obviously a huge loss for the NFL’s top offense from a season ago. Now, it’s Amendola’s job to get accustomed and acclimated to the system and Brady as quickly as possible. Losing a consistent and reliable 100-catch receiver isn’t a common occurrence for teams in the NFL, at least not by choice. So, replacing such a productive player surely comes with a great deal of pressure. But taking the initiative to connect with Brady from the get go is a promising sign. Amendola was productive with Sam Bradford at quarterback, so having Brady throw him passes from here on out should make him even better. Right? Well, it’s not quite that simple. Sure, Amendola’s brief time with Josh McDaniels in St. Louis did impact his decision to sign with the Patriots but, if  anything, history tells us his production and familiarity alone will earn him nothing Many receivers have come through the Patriots’ system but only a few have really flourished. Welker is among a small list of receivers to find early and consistent success in the Patriots’ offsense, with Deion Branch, David Givens and Randy Moss being the others. Veteran receivers like J.J. Stokes, Torry Holt, Joey Galloway and Chad Johnson to name a few having all flunked out of the Patriots’ system, which makes Amendola’s task a bit more daunting than originally expected. Amendola seems to have the same sort of tenacity that Welker displayed during his time in Foxboro, and seeing he and Brady working out together so soon is an encouraging sign for the future. Their connection will be a major focal point for New England’s offense next season, so getting a head start will only benefit them. Have a question for Luke Hughes? Send it to him via Twitter at @LukeFHughes or send it here.
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