Thoughts on Patriots, Dan Gronkowski

September, 23, 2011
9/23/11
4:54
PM ET
The New England Patriots made a somewhat surprising move 48 hours before facing the Buffalo Bills. The Patriots released backup tight end Dan Gronkowski, who was expected to play a larger role this week because of the injury to tight end Aaron Hernandez.

Here are a few thoughts:
  • This takes away one half of the Gronkowski homecoming. Both Dan and Rob Gronkowski are from the Buffalo area. This has to sting both brothers that Dan Gronkowski was cut just before making the trip.
  • This is another sign that New England most likely will get No. 3 receiver Chad Ochocinco more involved. New England used a lot of two tight end sets with Hernandez and Rob Gronkowski that were successful the first two games. That kept Ochocinco on the sidelines. Now Ochocinco should have a bigger role.
  • New England only has one healthy tight end on the 53-man roster. Backup tight end Garrett Mills is on the practice squad and could be brought up. The Patriots also could choose to go into the Bills game with one tight end and hope Rob Gronkowski doesn't get injured.

James Walker | email

ESPN Miami Dolphins reporter

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