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"If you've read my work for any length of time, you know I don't often buy into the prevailing sky-is-falling storylines that arise from time to time in sports. (The September 2011 Red Sox being the exception. I was bracing for impact that time.) So while the Patriots certainly appear to be in deep trouble with four of their top five 2012 pass-catchers gone and the other one (Gronkowski) having become a medical soap opera (those five accounted for 84 percent of New England's receptions last year), the numbers sound worse than what I expect the reality to be in Foxboro.
"Still, Brady and his newly constituted receiving corps have some serious ground to cover in the preseason if they're going to carry anything resembling a comfort zone into Buffalo in Week 1. Daniel Fells needs a big August to help offset the loss of Hernandez at tight end, and the new Welker, aka Danny Amendola, had better be ready to produce immediately. We've seen Brady make chicken salad out of lesser ingredients before, and the AFC East still appears less than daunting, but the Patriots are faced with reinventing themselves in the passing game this preseason and there's no time to waste.