Part of what made Randy Moss so important to the offense was his vertical presence and ability to clear things out for players like Wes Welker. No other player on the roster has that type of skill set, so expect the Patriots to reinvent themselves a bit on offense. One of the trademarks of Bill Belichick's coaching approach is that he doesn't force a system on players, but instead adapts to the players' strengths and weaknesses.
So if the Patriots call on a three-receiver set with Brandon Tate, Wes Welker and Julian Edelman, and pair that trio with tight end Aaron Hernandez, the plan figures to look different than it would if Moss was on the field. Minus a Moss-like vertical threat, this could be a return to the early 2000s New England offense that featured more of a quick-rhythm West Coast style.
While that is a significant alteration, it also remains just a slice of the Patriots' overall pie because they are no longer a three-receiver offense, which was the package in which the majority of their plays from 2007 to 2009 were run.
This year's offense has only been in a pure three- or four-receiver package 36 percent of their snaps. Compare that to the 56 percent clip from the 2009 season and it shows how the offense has changed to feature more multiple tight end packages with veteran Alge Crumpler and rookies Rob Gronkowski and Hernandez.