Shane Vereen: New England Patriots 'slipped up' in '12


The last time we saw the New England Patriots, they were a team in search for answers.

The NFL's most powerful offense had been stifled by the Baltimore Ravens in a 28-13 AFC Championship Game loss. The mighty Pats were held scoreless in the second half, a failure that has stuck with the team, according to running back Shane Vereen.

"I think as an offense we felt like we slipped up, especially at the end of the season, the way the season ended," Vereen told SiriusXM NFL Radio on Monday (via "Going into OTAs, that was our focus. There is still a lot we need to work on, there are a lot of new faces, it's still a younger offense, and so we have a lot of jelling to do. But I think we're on the right track."

It will be fascinating to watch how the Patriots perform on offense in 2013. Statistically, they had one of the best units ever in 2012. This season brings questions marks: Can Danny Amendola adequately replace Wes Welker? Who will replace Brandon Lloyd? What is Rob Gronkowski's status?

NFL Network's Brian Billick said Monday on "NFL Total Access" that Tom Brady "is going to have to be elevated to sainthood" if the Patriots can match their production from a year ago.

We're not going to count out Brady, who should be in the back end of his prime in his age-36 season. Still, there's no debating he'll face new challenges in 2013.

Follow Dan Hanzus on Twitter @DanHanzus.