The New England Patriots are going to get back a big weapon for their offense in Rob Gronkowski. Now that Gronkowski is fully healthy, expect him to make a major impact on offense for the Patriots. Gronkowski is one of the few players in the NFL that are game plan proof. Defensive coordinators are going to have to go into games expecting to contain him because of the matchup problems he gives defenses. He is too big for a defensive backs to cover in the passing game and too fast for linebackers to match him as well. That, plus the fact that Tom Brady is his quarterback, makes the Patriots offense tough to game plan against going into each week.
The only thing that has prevented Gronkowski from leading the league in touchdowns every year has been health. Last year Gronkowski only played seven games for the Patriots after he missed the first six games dealing with a forearm and back problems. Some people may be worried that he wouldn’t be ready for Week 1 after sitting out the entire preseason, but that notion was put to rest earlier today when he told reporters that he is going to play on Sunday against the Miami Dolphins.
This year I am expecting the Patriots to be smarter with their use of Gronkowski. Patriots fans shouldn’t expect him to be on the PAT team or field goal team like he was when he injured his forearm. They are also going to be smart and limit his snaps.
With the addition of Tim Wright, that is going to take away some of the heavy lifting that he was normally expected to do. When the Patriots had Aaron Hernandez and Gronkowski on the roster, he excelled and set the record for most touchdowns in a season with 17. Wright is going to fill the Hernandez role for the Patriots this year and that will ease the workload that Gronkowski usually gets.
It is easy to say that Gronkowski is going to be a disappointment for the Patriots this year. There is a very likely chance that he doesn’t play a full 16 games, but things are different with the addition of Wright. He is not going to be expected to do the heavy lifting on offense this year while still being a matchup nightmare for defensive coordinators. The Patriots are going to be smarter with their use of him throughout the game and the season, and that is going to lead to some big things for Gronkowski and the rest of the Patriots offense.