With Week 3 approaching quickly and the known offensive struggles for the New England Patriots, the news of Rob Gronkowski‘s return being soon is huge for the team and for fans. Tom Brady said yesterday that losing Gronk is similar to a baseball team losing their ace pitcher. Brady may be the person most excited for Gronkowski’s return, due to the familiarity with Brady and the fact that he is the best TE in the league when healthy. Coming into the season the thought was that Gronk would be back sometime around the third or fourth week. Gronkowski has practiced for a few weeks now and looks like he is close to ready for his 2013 debut, but his status is up in the air, so much that there are conflicting reports coming out about the chance that he plays or not.
The reports started coming out yesterday and have stayed consistent into today. ESPN was one of the first to report about Gronk and is claiming he is 50/50 to play against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. NFL Network on the other hand has says that someone close to Gronk has said that the Patriots are leaning towards not playing him this week. Now these reports do not surprise me at all, especially after seeing Bill Belichick shoot down any questions about Gronk’s status at his Wednesday press conference. Even with some reports saying the Patriots are leaning towards not playing him, he could very likely be out there on a limited basis on Sunday.
If he is healthy enough to play, the question becomes do you want to get him some game action before the Week 4 matchup against the Atlanta Falcons or are you just going to throw him in there and hope he can be ready with no game action in about nine months? Tampa Bay has struggled this year, but they are better than their record shows. Getting Gronk some action would not be a bad thing. He shouldn’t be in there for 75 snaps, but limited snaps to get the rust off is not a bad thing. Plus if the Patriots need to make a fourth quarter comeback, it would not be a bad thing to have him available, especially in the red zone.