There are six tight ends currently on the Patriots roster, which includes Rob Gronkowski, Jake Ballard, Michael Hoomanawanui, Daniel Fells, Zach Sudfeld and Brandon Ford. Gronkowski is recovering from back surgery and will likely be put on the PUP list which will deem him inactive for the first seven weeks of the season. This leaves Ballard, Hooman and Daniel Fells to get the Patriots through the first half of the season.
Let me make this clear, the Patriots are going to be fine. Tom Brady can cure a lot of shortcomings and Ballard, Fells, Amendola and Julien Edelman are good enough for Brady to work with. On top of that, the Patriots can get back to the things they did when they won Super Bowls, throwing screen passes to players like Stevan Ridley, Shane Vereen, Brandon Boldin, Leon Washington and LeGarrette Blount. It's time for Josh McDaniels to earn his money and redesign the offense.
It's about staying afloat until Gronkowski comes back, but how hard will that be? Look at the first seven teams you go against. It goes the Bills, Jets, Bucs, Falcons, Bengals, Saints, and Jets again. Win. Win. Win. Loss. Win. Loss. Win. The Patriots, with the epic forest fire of their star tight ends, can still conceivably win five of those seven games and then you have Gronkowski back.
On top of all of that, the defense is intact and should start taking strides as a unit to get better. Important players such as Aqib Talib, Chandler Jones, Alfonso Dennard and Don't'a Hightower are all entering their second year with the Patriots and this familiarity works in a lot of players favor.
People are starting to worry and if you want the Patriots to be top three in scoring again maybe you should worry, but I would prefer the Patriots win a few games on defense. I see the Patriots getting ten wins which should get them a wild card appearance, which is where they used to sit when they won titles.