Sunday, November 18, 2012
Should Gronk have even been in the game?
By Field Yates
FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- As reported by ESPN's NFL Insider Adam Schefter, Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski broke his forearm while blocking on the team's final extra point during their 59-24 rout of the Indianapolis Colts on Sunday afternoon.
Gronkowski had sat out the drive that led to the score, and was effectively removed from the game at that point. That has led some to wonder why the team would decide to usher Gronkowski back out on the field for the extra point attempt on a seemingly meaningless play.
The fact that Gronkowski, as well as the rest of the Patriots' first-string extra point team, was out on the field for the final kick is not a surprise and not uncommon, even in a lopsided game. Teams keeping their top extra point unit intact throughout the course of a game, regardless of the score, is commonplace across the NFL.
Many teams opt to use their top tight ends as wing players on the field goal/extra point protection team, while others lean heavily on reserve-level players. The task involved for Gronkowski and any other wing player is fairly simple: It’s a one-step and one-punch motion, and often goes unnoticed except in the occasion of a blocked kick. That's probably why the Patriots didn't turn to a backup for the extra point: It's a low-risk play that rarely results in any sort of excessive contact for a wing player.
On Sunday, the Patriots were unable to escape the worst-case scenario, and now could be without their top tight end for a portion of the home stretch of their schedule. But to cite their tactic of leaving Gronkowski and their top field-goal protection team in late in a blowout game as a mistake is short-sighted.
Your turn: Do you think Gronk should have been in the game at that point? Vote in the poll above and sound off in the comments section.