The New England Patriots have been waiting all season to have Rob Gronkowski back on the field. By all accounts he’s been dominant in practice the last couple of weeks, and now it looks like he’s going to be on the field when it counts this weekend against the New York Jets.
Gronkowski is the key to getting the New England offense back on track. Tom Brady and his new receivers have struggled this year, mostly because those receivers have had a hard time creating space to operate on the outside. The addition of Gronkowski working the middle of the field will keep teams from focusing on the outside receivers.
One of the best pass-catching tight ends — if not just plain-old pass catchers — in the NFL over the last few seasons, Gronkowski brings a level of explosiveness to the Patriots that they have lacked over the first six games of the season.
That offense has struggled mightily at times this year. The integration of those new receivers has been like being in stop and go traffic. Every once in a while it looks like things are going to start moving, just to leave you smashing on the brakes seconds later. Brady and the coaching of Bill Belichick have been the only two reliable factors the team has had. Brady isn’t the same elite player he was just a year or so ago, but last week he was in vintage form on the final drive, leading the team to a comeback win against the formerly undefeated New Orleans Saints.
That win gave them momentum, and the return of Gronkowski gives them legitimate hope that they can keep winning games.