The offseason has barely started, and so far Terrell Suggs and Da'Quan Bowers have both torn achilles tendons and Phil Taylor has torn a pectoral muscle. In football, injuries are not a matter of "if" so when as "when". Every team will have some major ones, and those better able to weather the losses will be more likely to survive. In recent years the Pats have had more than their fare share of unexpected injuries: 2011: - Leigh Bodden was expected to come back and pair with Devin McCourty to form a dominant CB tandem, but he failed to recover from his back injury and was cut. - TE Alge Crumpler failed to recover from offseason shoulder surgery and was released. - All Pro RT Sebastian Vollmer missed much of the season with a back injury, playing in only 6 games. - Rookie RB Shane Vereen was expected to add an extra dimension to the offense, but hamstring injuries limited him to only a token appearance in 5 games. - Interior pass rushers Myron Pryor (shoulder) and Mike Wright (concussions) missed most of the season on IR. This clearly affected the ability to generate interior pressure. - OT Matt Light struggled with a foot injury. - OC Dan Koppen broke his ankle and missed almost the entire season on IR. Dan Connolly filled in ably, but the Pats had the worst rushing attack since 2005. The losses of Koppen, Vollmer and Alge Crumpler may have contributed. - Starting S Pat Chung missed 6 games with a foot injury. The Pats' depleted secondary was one of the worst units in the NFL. - ILB Brandon Spikes missed 8 games with an ankle injury. The defense played much better after his return. - Leading sack Andre Carter tore his quadriceps and was placed on injured reserve. It may not be a coincidence that the Pats reverted to more 3-4 use after Carter was lost. - Devin McCourty played all season with a shoulder injury, which may have contributed to his sophomore slump. - Rookie CB Ras-I Dowling started his first 2 games but missed the rest of the season with a hip injury. - Logan Mankins played with a partial ACL tear. - Rob Gronkowski suffered an ankle sprain in the AFCCG that limited his effectiveness in that game and the Super Bowl, and may have cost the Pats a 4th ring. - TE Aaron Hernandez missed 2 games with a MCL sprain. 2010: - CB Leigh Bodden missed the entire season with a rotator cuff injury. - S Brandon McGowan missed the entire season with a pectoral tear. - DE Ty Warren missed the entire season with a hip injury. - OT Nick Kaczur missed the entire season with a back injury. - TE Aaron Hernandez missed 2 games and was limited by a hip injury the second half of the season, and had surgery in the off-season. - WR Wes Welker amazingly returned form an ACL injury, but was clearly not at full strength. - TE Alge Crumpler played much of the season with a shoulder injury, which required offseason surgery. 2009: - LB Jerod Mayo sufferend an MCL sprain and missed 4 games. He was sub-par after possibly being rushed back prematurely. - WR Wes Welker suffered an ACL tear in the season finale against Houston, which took away one of the Pats' main offensive weapons for the playoffs. - The entire offensive line struggled with injuries throughout the season, and was held together by duct tape. - DE Ty Warren missed 3 games and was limited in his effectiveness by an ankle injury. 2008: - QB Tom Brady suffered an ACL tear in the season opener against Kansas City. No more need be said. That's only a partial list. I'm sure I've left some out. Based on past history, we can expect that at least 2-3 players will be lost to injury before the regular season starts, and another 10+ will have significant injuries during the season. BB has assembled the deepest roster ever, but I expect he will be tested during the season and will have to dig deep to weather injuries. Who besides Brady can the Pats least afford to lose? My guess would be Wilfork, Gronk and Hernandez. The depth on OL, LB and in the secondary seems very good. The Pats appear ready to go to a WRBC approach in anticipation of a possible Welker holdout, and RBBC limits dependence on any one guy.