Saturday, September 29, 2012
Big Decision: How to use Gronkowski?
By Mike Rodak
The day before each game this season, this space will feature one big decision facing Patriots head coach Bill Belichick and his staff, in terms of the game-plan.
This week's decision: Should the Patriots get tight end Rob Gronkowski involved more in the passing game?
In last week's loss to the Baltimore Ravens, Gronkowski was targeted only three times, and after the game quarterback Tom Brady admitted that he needs to get Gronkowski more involved in the offense.
Offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels later explained that Baltimore's defense gave receivers Wes Welker and Brandon Lloyd more opportunities than Gronkowski.
The Patriots scored 30 points in that game, so it would be a stretch to say that Gronkowski's limited opportunities in the passing game had a significant impact on the offense's production.
However, over the long haul, the Patriots will probably look to get Gronkowski more involved. That could start Sunday if Gronkowski is cleared to play, with tight end Aaron Hernandez and receiver Julian Edelman already ruled out. Gronkowski has seven touchdowns in four career games against the Bills, and their top safeties -- Jairus Byrd, George Wilson and Bryan Scott -- have sometimes struggled to contain Gronkowski in the past.