New England Patriots‘ fans have been clamoring for the return of All-Pro tight end Rob Gronkowski. They have wanted him to return since the beginning of the regular season because of the amount of new pass catchers that quarterback Tom Brady has had to throw to. However, it was the smart move to sit Gronkowski in the first three weeks. That way, he could get as healthy as possible. Now it’s time for Gronkowski to play.
This week, the Patriots travel to the Georgia Dome to play the Atlanta Falcons. Despite being 1-2 to this point, the Falcons are easily the Patriots’ toughest opponent so far. Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan is on the cusp of being an elite quarterback in the NFL. Not to mention that Ryan has some nice weapons to work with. Falcons wide receiver Julio Jones is a bona fide No. 1 receiver in this league. That makes wide receiver Roddy White arguably the best No. 2 wide receiver in the league. And don’t sleep on tight end Tony Gonzalez, who is due for a big game this season.
Simply put, the Falcons are going to put up points. Sure, the Patriots’ defense has been nothing short of excellent so far, but that was against lesser competition. Now the Pats’ defenders have to face some of the most explosive offensive player, and something has to give here.
People say that the best defense is a good offense. So to match Matt Ryan and company, Tom Brady is going to need his favorite returning target. Gronkowski does not just rack up receptions but also is the best red zone target in the receiving corps. Add those elements to the fact that Gronk is also a force as a blocker, which is crucial to get the running game going. Gronk’s presence improves the offense as a whole, and now is the time where the big man is needed.
Philip Alexander is a New England Patriots writer for RantSports.com. Follow him on Twitter @steely0906, “like” him on Facebook or add him to your network on Google.