This Sunday night was supposed to be the night when New England Patriots‘ tight end Rob Gronkowski would suit up. The Atlanta Falcons, after all, is the toughest team that the Patriots have had to face so far. Head coach Bill Belichick needs all hands on deck to win this game, especially since it’s in Atlanta. But now there are reports that say that Gronkowski probably won’t play.
So why has there been so much hype around Gronkowski returning early? The moment that Belichick decided to keep Gronkowski off the Physically Unable to Perform list, it raised optimism that Gronk would be able to go around this point. Maybe putting Gronkowski on the PUP would have been a wise decision. After all, this is the same player who had five surgeries between November 2012 and June 2013. Even though Gronkowski is a big, strong and athletic specimen who is built for football, that number of surgeries is bound to slow anybody down.
Let’s say that Gronkowski did play this week. He probably wouldn’t be 100 percent anyway. If the goal is to get Gronk to be 100 percent, then why not give him a couple of extra weeks off? The perception right now is that the big man is ahead of schedule, but perhaps Belichick should have seen a setback like this coming. Sometimes it’s about projecting a player rather than just assessing him at the moment.
Most people think that the Patriots are in a good enough position to let the star players sit. Well, as it might be proven on Sunday, that is not the case. The defense will have a much tougher task this time around. This means that quarterback Tom Brady is going to need his weapons healthy. Who knows, maybe a blowout loss might wake Belichick up.
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.