For the last few years, the tight end position has been completely reinvented as every NFL team needs a pass-catching tight end. Naturally, guys like Rob Gronkowski will continue to be the face of the position, but can his team do something remarkable in 2013?
When the New England Patriots entered this offseason they were believed to hold onto slot wide receiver Wes Welker. However, the two were unable to reach a deal and the Patriots’ legend booked for the Denver Broncos in free agency. With Welker out of the picture, this means that the Pats will rely even more heavily on two of the best tight ends in all of football.
The issue for New England has not been the talent of these guys, but the fact that they haven’t been able to stay healthy for an entire season. 2012 was the worst in terms of injury with Gronkowski missing five games and Hernandez playing in only 10 games. If these two can stay away from the injury bug, I think they can make the NFL history books.
Tom Brady has always loved hitting his tight ends, but now that Welker is out of Foxboro, the reception total will only increase for these two beasts. Never before has a team had a tandem of tight ends catch double-digit touchdowns, but if these two stay on the field, it will happen in 2013. Gronkowski is recovering from a broken forearm, however Hernandez is the bigger issue as he has not played a full season in three years with New England.
Head coach Bill Belichick could find other ways to replace Welker’s presence in the middle of the field, but I think the tight ends are going to be historically big in 2013.