After getting 38 offensive snaps (44 percent) in Week 1, Rob Gronkowski’s playing time went down last weekend in Minnesota. The tight end played only 28 snaps, or 42 percent of the offensive plays, against the Vikings in Week 2.
It's not completely unlike the way the Patriots used Gronkowski last year, when he rejoined the team after spending the first six weeks recovering from forearm and back injuries.
When he returned to the Patriots in Week 7, he played 48 snaps (64 percent). The next weekend, he played only 33 snaps (50 percent).
His playing time this season reflects the severity of the knee injury he suffered late in 2013.
“I think Rob’s making strides each week in terms of what he’s been able to do for us, in practice and on the field and during the games,” Patriots offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels said. “I think a little bit of it last week was situational based. We used Cameron Fleming a little bit more in last week’s game in some different situations, and we kind of did that because we wanted to add a little size. That dictated the different personnel groupings on the field.
“I think Rob’s done a good job. He’s really working hard. These are his first two opportunities to get out there in a game this year, and I think every opportunity we have is just a better day.”
Through two games, Gronkowski has been targeted 17 times, catching eight passes for 72 yards. It’s not unusual to see players return looking somewhat slower after returning from ACL injuries, the story said. Gronkowski has been adamant that he’s getting more comfortable with his knee and out on the field. The good news is he seems to be on a similar path as last year so it should only be a matter of time before they increase his workload.
Monday, September 15, 2014, 12:27pm
Part of what has made Patriots QB Tom Brady such an elite quarterback throughout his career has been the ability to spread the ball around. But this season, wide receiver Julian Edelman seemingly has been his only real option, with Rob Gronkowski slowly getting back to speed and some of the new faces still finding their way.
Kenbrell Thompkins was inactive yesterday, while Aaron Dobson caught one pass in the early part of the game. Brandon LaFell has yet to catch a pass, while Danny Amendola has three catches for 16 yards.
“Yeah, we’ve just got to find ways to get everybody the ball and spread it around to different guys,” Brady said. “We spread it around a little bit yesterday. (Amendola) didn’t get the ball as much as obviously I’d like to get it to him. Brandon LaFell, the same thing. Aaron Dobson had one catch to start the game and didn’t get a lot of other looks after that. We’ve got to get the ball to everybody and spread the ball around to everybody.”
Spreading the ball around hasn't happened yet for Brady and the Pats. While the young receivers have had another with Brady, Dobson's injury has hurt the Pats deep-play potential. TE Rob Gronkowski's slow recovery is likely playing a role as well as he was limited to just 29 snaps this week, also thanks in part to a lopsided win. Things should get better as the weeks go by, but Brady owners should expect up and down production until things get settled.
Friday, September 12, 2014, 7:30pm
Patriots TE Rob Gronkowski (knee, probable) took limited practice reps all week and is probable for Week 2. Gronk is good to go for a date with the Vikings. We’re expecting the Patriots to slowly ramp up his snaps.
Thursday, September 11, 2014, 6:24pm
Wednesday, September 10, 2014, 7:02pm
Monday, September 8, 2014, 9:00am
Vereen had a short-yardage TD in the game on top of his normal pass-catching duties James White was inactive. It's hard to get a feel for the Pats offense week-to-week, but Vereen continues to be the safest play.
TE Rob Gronkowski played on just 38 of 76 snaps but did catch a TD. It was expected he wouldn't see significant time. If that trend continues next week, he's still worth putting in fantasy lineups for his red zone presence alone.
Friday, September 5, 2014, 5:45pm
Patriots TE Rob Gronkowski (knee, questionable) took limited practice reps all week and is questionable for Week 1. Gronk declared himself ready to play, but HC Bill Belichick walked it back, saying that he still needed to be evaluated throughout the week. Since Gronk made the trip to Miami, and injured Patriot players don’t travel, we’re guessing that Gronk simply let the cat out of the bag and that he will indeed play in Week 1.
Don't be surprised if tight end Tim Wright plays a lot for the Patriots on Sunday in Miami. One teammate told me he's been impressed with how seamlessly Wright has transitioned into the Patriots' system and picked up a complex offense (he played 43 snaps, including penalties, in the preseason finale). So while Rob Gronkowski said he is ready to contribute in a part-time role in Week 1, Wright is primed for perhaps the most extended action at the position.
We like Wright as a long play, but it sounds as if he has picked things up very quickly and is ready to make an impact from the get-go. He's nothing but a desperation play at this point, but things can change in a heartbeat.
Thursday, September 4, 2014, 6:23pm
Patriots TE Rob Gronkowski (knee) took limited practice reps again Thursday. Gronk declared himself ready to play, but HC Bill Belichick walked it back, saying that he still needed to be evaluated throughout the week. We’re guessing that Gronk simply let the cat out of the bag and that he will indeed play in Week 1. But don’t be surprised if he has a questionable tag on Friday. These are the Patriots, after all.
Wednesday, September 3, 2014, 7:02pm
Patriots TE Rob Gronkowski (knee) took limited practice reps Wednesday. Gronk declared himself ready to play, but HC Bill Belichick walked it back, saying that he still needed to be evaluated throughout the week. We’re guessing that Gronk simply let the cat out of the bag and that he will indeed play in Week 1. But don’t be surprised if he has a questionable tag on Friday. These are the Patriots, after all.
“We’ll see how his role plays out. It’s been fun to get to know him,” Brady said. “It’s been a very short period of time. A lot of our focus has been trying to get ready for Miami, and whatever role he can find for himself will be a benefit for us. He’s done a great job trying to learn everything since he’s got here. I didn’t get a chance to play with him last week, but we’ll see what happens this week. We’re trying to get to know each other and spend extra time communicating, gain his understanding of the things that he expects versus my expectations. It’s really a learning process.”
We're not expecting Wright to make a big splash in Week 1, especially if Rob Gronkowski is ready to go. The two play different positions in the offense, but Gronk's absence could open up snaps and targets for Wright.
Tuesday, September 2, 2014, 8:22pm
Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski told reporters on Monday that he’s ready to play Sunday’s opener in Miami even though head coach Bill Belichick didn't seem so convinced. The uncertainty of Gronkowski's status along with his durability and stamina, make TE Tim Wright’s progress this week all the more important.
“You try to get him caught up in terms of the foundation of your terminology and I’m sure he’ll work real hard to do that; he has so far,” OC Josh McDaniels said. “When you start to get into this time of the year, the focus narrows down a little bit to what you’re going to do during the course of the game so there’s not quite as much volume to consider for a new person who hasn’t had an extensive exposure in the system.”
Wright has been impressive in his limited time in New England. We heard all along this trade had little to do with Gronk's status, and at this point it's anyone's guess as to whether or not Gronk plays in Week 1 now. Wright is more of a replacement for Aaron Hernandez at the "move" TE position anyway, but if Gronk can't go, Wright could give QB Tom Brady a target in the middle of the field. Wright's probably not fantasy lineup worthy right now, but is certainly someone to watch as the Pats like their 2 TE formations.
“I’m glad that Rob’s optimistic about this situation,” Belichick said, via CSNNE.com. “We’ll go through the week of practice and take a look at everything, everybody, and see where everybody’s at and try to do what we feel like is best for the team. With all due respect to Rob — I’m glad he feels the way he does — but, in the end, we’ll have to make the decision we feel like is best for the team and we’ll do that as we go through the week.”
If after thinking for a while you found it strange Gronk declared himself a go for Week 1 so early, and was specific about snaps, you're not alone. As the story put it, Belichick may be telling the truth or, given his distaste for sharing information, he may know exactly what the Patriots plan to do this Sunday. Either way, the Dolphins aren’t likely to get a clear idea of the team’s plans until much closer to kickoff so they’ll have to be prepared for all eventualities. The good news is, this week is a 1 p.m. game so we'll at least know if Gronk is active around 12 p.m. Sunday. If he is, he probably still warrants a start in your lineup even if he's limited in snaps. Like we said over the weekend, those snaps would likely include red zone and scoring chances.
It doesn’t look like they’ll find themselves in the same predicament this time around. Gronkowski said Monday that he’s been given the green light to play against the Dolphins in the opening weekend of the regular season.
“Super excited. Super pumped,” Gronkowski said, via Mike Reiss of ESPNBoston.com. “I feel mentally and physically ready, for sure.”
Gronkowski added that he won’t be playing every snap, saying that he hopes to get his “feet wet” against Miami before taking on a bigger role in the coming weeks, the story said. It's great news for owners and Gronk is still worth starting Week 1 despite likely not seeing a full workload. His time on the field should come in red zone and scoring situations. The Dolphins ranked 29th last year in terms of giving up points to TEs.
Tuesday, August 26, 2014, 6:33pm
The "move" position is often lined up off the line of scrimmage or split out wide as a sort of bulky, physical receiver. As the name implies, the player moves across the formation a good deal, utilizing the option to have that tight end block and changing the angles from which that block can come. Putting the tight end in different positions also helps to expose opening in the interior passing game.
Wright has struggled to block this preseason and was buried on the Bucs depth chart. But the article says the Patriots will likely be counting on Wright to contribute early as a threat in the interior passing game, particularly as a complement to Gronkowski. It goes on to say, at the very least, the offense needs a player who can be a legitimate threat to run down the seam while taking some pressure off the team's outside receivers. Whether Wright can establish himself as a complimentary redzone threat remains to be seen, it went on. His fantasy value is also in question, but certainly seemsm to have some potential at least in deeper leagues. Wright may not be Hernandez but it seems like he could give the Pats more looks in two TE formations.
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