Despite the little dig directed at New England Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski in yesterday’s article, I still believe Gronkowski can and will have a positive impact on the Patriots’ 2014 season. Currently Gronkowski is working to rehab a torn ACL and MCL he suffered in the Patriots’ 27-26 win over the Cleveland Browns last season on Dec. 8. Gronkowski played in seven games last season (he started six) and logged 39 catches for 592 yards with four touchdowns. When Gronkowski is on the field, he produces.
It has been reported that Gronkowski will “take his time and then take more time” in his recovery from the torn ACL and MCL. Patriots fans and the Patriots organization should not bash Gronkowski at all for this. Gronkowski is very wise to take his time. If he’s ready for the season opener, great. If not, hopefully the Patriots add some depth at the tight end position before the season starts and that allows them to weather the storm without him until he is 100 percent ready to come back. Gronkowski is far more valuable to the Patriots in the postseason than he is in the first, say, four or five games of the regular season.
Gronkowski is a fantastic talent; there’s no one quite like him in the NFL. He’s too big (6-foot-6, 265-pounds) for cornerbacks and he’s too fast for linebackers. He is the very definition of a matchup nightmare, but he has been plagued by injuries. In his short career since being drafted 42nd overall in 2010, Gronkowski has had back surgery, multiple procedures to help heal a broken left forearm, he played in Super Bowl XLVI on an injured ankle he suffered in the AFC Championship game and now he is trying to rehab a torn ACL and MCL. The Patriots do not need a player who has been plagued by injuries coming back too early, especially when that player could be a difference maker in the playoffs.
The Patriots are a different team on offense when Gronkowski is healthy and on the field. Even with the time he has missed he has 226 receptions for 3,255 yards and 42 touchdowns over his short career.
Ideally Gronkowski wouldn’t miss any time, but if he does miss the beginning of the season, the Patriots will be okay. The Patriots just need to make sure he is in football shape and healthy for the playoffs. The main goal in New England is to win the Super Bowl, not just make the playoffs and win the division. They may have different expectations in other cities, but that is what is expected in New England. A healthy Gronkowski in the playoffs would go a long way towards helping the Patriots achieve that goal. Keep double-fisting those steaks and take your time coming back, Gronk.