New England Patriots Receivers Must Work Harder Without Rob Gronkowski

Mark L. Baer-USA TODAY Sports

Midway through the first quarter of the New England Patriots’ 41-28 win over the Houston Texans, tight end Rob Gronkowski aggravated a forearm injury while attempting to catch a pass on the sideline.

Gronkowski didn’t return to the game after getting X-rayed. The fact that Gronk was held out so early in the game indicates that the injury is serious. It has also reported that the third-year tight end may need another procedure on the already surgically repaired forearm.

It was during the Patriots’ Week 11 victory over the Indianapolis Colts when Gronkowski broke his left forearm, and was sidelined for the next six weeks.

If unable to go next week against the Baltimore Ravens, the big target that Gronk give quarterback Tom Brady in the passing game will be greatly missed. New England’s duel tight end combination with Aaron Hernandez will be something that would be needed against Ray Lewis and the rest of that Baltimore defense.

More importantly, one of New England’s reliable red zone threats will be gone. Gronkowski led all tight ends in the league with 11 touchdown catches.

Even though the Patriots have a number of weapons on offense to pick up the slack in the potential absence of Gronkowski, the rest of New England’s pass catchers will have more attention drawn towards them.

In Week 3 of the regular season, the Patriots and the Ravens faced-off and Gronk had only two receptions for 21 yards. However, wide receivers Brandon Lloyd and Wes Welker combined for 17 catches for 250 yards in a losing effort. Without Gronkowski, the Patriots wide receivers may find it a little difficult to repeat the production from earlier in the year.

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