When TE Rob Gronkowski went down with an arm injury blocking on an extra point last season, many fans wondered why he was even out there in the first place.
Now, with all of the issues that Gronk has encountered as a result of that injury, you would think the Patriots would change the personnel they have blocking on kicks to include less critical playmakers.
However, according to Espnboston.com’s Mike Reiss, DE Chandler Jones has taken Gronkowski’s place on the kick coverage team. He was reportedly out there on Thursday night for each of the team’s field goal attempts against the Detroit Lions.
Jones is arguably the most important player on the New England Patriots defense outside of Vince Wilfork, and it is an unnecessary risk to have a player of his caliber blocking kicks. If what happened to Gronkowski were to happen to Jones, it would be potentially catastrophic for the team’s pass rush.
Knowing this, if you are the Patriots, wouldn’t you put in a guy that does not start for your team to block on kicks, a backup offensive lineman perhaps? You could even put Tim Tebow in there if he makes the roster. Having Jones block kicks is way too risky a proposition for a football team that has struggled to rush the passer for years now. Why would you subject one of your 2012 first-round draft picks to that much risk?
If the Patriots were smart, they would not allow this trend to continue into the regular season. For the good of the team, Jones’ sole focus should be improving on what he already does so well — rushing opposing quarterbacks.
A guy like him cannot afford an injury, especially if it were from something as meaningless as blocking on a kick.
Do you think the Patriots should use Jones on kick coverage? Is it a bad idea? Why or why not? Feel free to comment on the subject in the “comments” section below.