Tuesday, January 31, 2012
Poll: Who steps up for Gronkowski?
By James Walker
INDIANAPOLIS -- New England Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski missed another practice on Monday. His left ankle sprain has his playing status in question for Super Bowl XLVI against the New York Giants.
The Patriots are the topic of our latest poll in the AFC East blog. If Gronkowski doesn’t play -- or at the very least is limited -- which receiver has to step up most in New England’s offense to beat New York?
Is it Wes Welker? He caught more passes (122) than any Patriot receiver during the regular season. Gronkowski has taken over in the playoffs and Welker has somewhat become a forgotten weapon. Will Welker have a big game against the Giants?
What about No. 2 tight end Aaron Hernandez? He’s proven to be one of the top-10 tight ends in the NFL, even as a second option. If Gronkowski doesn’t play or is limited, that means Hernandez will get a lot more opportunities to make plays.
Then we have the wild card: Deion Branch. The veteran is getting older, but he continues to produce. Branch also has plenty of big-game experience. He was Super Bowl MVP after the 2005 season. Will Branch discover the fountain of youth?
Julian Edelman and Chad Ochocinco are backups who don’t get many reps. But it’s the Super Bowl, where anything can happen in a one-game scenario.
Using our SportsNation poll, vote on which receiver needs to step up the most to help fill in for an injured and limited Gronkowski. You can also share your thoughts in the comment section below.