New England Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski (87) celebrates after scoring a touchdown against the Miami Dolphins during the second half at Gillette Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Mark L. Baer-USA TODAY Sports

Tom Brady likens Rob Gronkowski to a No. 1 pitcher


The New England Patriots passing offense has looked much worse than we’re used to seeing, and much was made of Tom Brady’s reaction to the mis-timed routes and drops made by his rookie receivers. The growing pains that Kenbrell Thompkins, Aaron Dobson, and Josh Boyce are dealing with will help the Patriots out in the long run, but the Patriots really do need a change in the short-term. The upcoming game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers is definitely on the Patriots minds, but the Pats could possibly survive against the Bucs with more bad play from the pass-catchers. However, the Patriots simply cannot afford to have a Week 2 repeat against the Atlanta Falcons, and it doesn’t look like Danny Amendola will be back by then.

But the Patriots should be getting Rob Gronkowski back in Week 3, as that’s been the timeline for Gronk’s return for about a month. Gronkowski’s impact to the Patriots cannot be understated, because we saw just how important he is as a receiver last season. The Patriots were significantly worse when he was out with a broken arm, and it is clear that Gronkowski opens things up for just about everyone. The monstrous- as a blocker and pass-catcher- TE is the antidote the New England Patriots need, and Tom Brady certainly knows it. In an interview this morning with Dennis and Callahan, Brady likened Gronkowski to a No. 1 starter in baseball.

“He’s a pretty important player. It’s like losing your No. 1 pitcher in baseball. What would that do to a baseball team? He’s pretty good. He’s a great player. He helps in the run game and the pass game, provides a level of toughness for our team. He’s been a really consistent performer when he’s been out there. It’s hard to replace him. There’s only one Gronk.

“I know he’s working his butt off to get back. Every time I see him he’s got a great attitude about his rehabilitation and what he’s going through to try to get back on the field. When he is back, and hopefully he can stay healthy over the course of a long season — but our offense could definitely use the help.”

That is just an awesome way to put it, and the Patriots offense will certainly get a boost in the passing game- and even the running game with Gronk’s excellent blocking- with a guy as talented as Gronk. He is so important to this team, and he is an extremely productive player (fantasy football players definitely know that) who is also important in a schematic sense. What Gronk brings to the table that isn’t measured by his stats is his ability to open things up for the receivers on the outside, and it’s going to make rookies like Thompkins and solid contributors like Julian Edelman significantly better in the process.

So yeah, Gronk is the “ace” of this staff.

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Tags: New England Patriots Rob Gronkowski Tom Brady