It was a frustrating season for much of 2013 for quarterback Tom Brady. (USA TODAY Images)

Heading into the 2013 season the Patriots found themselves with plenty of questions on the offensive side of the football, many of which simply required the battle of real NFL competition to work out the kinks in hopes of having everything come together.

One year later, not much has changed.

Most of the newer players at least have a year in the system under their belt, and all of them were given a taste of the excitement of the NFL postseason, while also experiencing the agony of coming up short in their ultimate goal. This is a team that is used to winning football games and each year the expectations are such that they expect to be playing football into January, and potentially even longer.

But getting there isn’t easy, and there were quite a few new players who had up and down seasons last year. The regular season is still a couple of months away and for the second-straight year, the Patriots are in need of some stronger contributions from a group that overall showed plenty of positive things to build on, but not quite enough for this offense to reach their potential.

This is a key season for a few players to establish themselves as the future of this football team as key assets for Tom Brady over his final few seasons. Here’s a look at five of them who have plenty to prove if this team hopes to be playing football in Arizona in February.