Tom Brady is throwing to ghosts.
The New England Patriots quarterback is working with a flock of new faces as the team makes its way through this week's organized team activities.
Wes Welker is gone, but that's not all: Andy Hart of the team's official site points out that Brady is without his top seven targets from a season ago.
Welker (after accounting for 118 catches last year) is cozying up to Peyton Manning on the Denver Broncos. Meanwhile, Brandon Lloyd (74 catches in 2012) is unemployed; Rob Gronkowski (55) is AWOL following repeated surgeries on his forearm, with a back procedure up next; and Aaron Hernandez (51) is rehabbing from a shoulder operation. Danny Woodhead (40) joined the Chargers, Julian Edelman (21) is battling a foot injury and Deion Branch (16) is a free agent. Still with us?
Brady's next leading pass-catcher from a season ago? Running back Shane Vereen, who accounted for eight receptions in 2012.
It's too early to panic in New England, but it's challenging to build chemistry with receivers who aren't there. The clear upside is more snaps and targets for the newly acquired Danny Amendola, who's under pressure to clone Welker's production. Without help around him -- especially Gronk -- that won't be easy.
Follow Marc Sessler on Twitter @MarcSesslerNFL.