At the start of New England Patriots training camp Thursday, the Patriots received a bit of good news. Superstar TE Rob Gronkowski has been cleared to start the season and practice with the team. He was out there on Day 2 of camp on Friday, albeit in a limited capacity, which is obviously a good thing for the Pats.
With that said, when you stop and think about it, his presence in the early portion of the regular season (the entire regular season really) doesn’t mean much at all. The reason for that is because he has missed mostly playoff games in his career with the exception of last season.
If you look at his career, he has missed 14 regular season games in four years, an average of 3.5 games per season. In two of his four years, he has played a full 16-game schedule in the regular season.
Now, let’s look at the playoffs. Since being drafted by the Patriots in 2010, Gronk has only played in four career playoff games despite the Pats making the postseason every year, sometimes going deep into them. In his one Super Bowl appearance, he was nothing more than a decoy thanks to a bum ankle, catching just two passes for 26 yards in a losing effort.
Going back to the regular season, Gronkowski has missed some significant time, but do the Patriots really need a healthy Gronk in the regular season? The answer is no. The AFC East is the punch line of the NFL with the exception of the Patriots. Barring something unprecedented, the Patriots will win their division and make the postseason in 2014, especially with the additions of Darrelle Revis and Brandon Browner on defense.
At the end of the day, the Pats should not be concerned about whether Gronkowski will be ready for Week 1. Their main priority should be having him when it really matters in the playoffs, and hopefully, the Super Bowl.
Gronk being healthy may be a great thing for fantasy football owners, but it is irrelevant right now for the Pats and that won’t change until January. That is, unless his health takes a turn for the worse.