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.