New England Patriots: State of Franchise at Start of 2014 Offseason

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New England Patriots: State of Franchise at Start of 2014 Offseason
Lynne Sladky/Associated Press
How can the Pats maximize the end of the Brady-Belichick era?

Super Bowl XLVIII is officially in the books, meaning preparation for the 2014 NFL season is officially underway.

While the New England Patriots fell short of their lofty championship expectations in 2013, improved health and a few reinforcements should put the Pats back in contention for that elusive fourth Super Bowl. As last season proved, only Tom Brady and Bill Belichick are truly indispensable.

Nevertheless, the Patriots' supporting cast was lacking this past season. Not all of that was New England's fault, as no one could have foreseen the Aaron Hernandez situation or the plethora of season-ending injuries. Still, one can point to multiple decisions and question if the Patriots gave themselves the best chance to win.

So how can the Pats climb back up the Super Bowl mountain and reach the peak, something they have failed to do the last nine years? The months ahead provide plenty of opportunity for critique, so for now, here's a snapshot of where the Patriots stand at the beginning of the 2014 team-building process.

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