Patriots coach, bench and fans are awaiting Rob Gronkowski to return to the game, but only want him to return if he is able to play. Last Thursday, the need for Gronkowski on the field was apparent when watching Tom Brady's multiple incomplete passes.
New England squeaked by in their last win over the Jets, 13-10. And if that isn't enough to show they need their receivers back on the bench, Tim Brady had the lowest total passing yards in a game since 2011. To make matters worse, the Patriots are also down receiver Danny Amendola.
ESPN's Ed Werder reported that Gronkowski is "50-50" to play against the Buccaneers. Though, the Patriots' coaches and staff are still discussing the decision in the next few days, but Gronkowski is closer to his return. He has been practicing with the team for a few weeks and slowly recovering from a difficult off season with an injury to his back and previously injured wrist.
Gronkowski is a power player known for his pass-catching abilities and blocking, and his return would perk up the team moral.
The main question the coaches need to consider is whether or not they need Gronk for the 0-2 Buccaneers on Sunday, or if they can give him an extra week of recovery. After the Bucs defense held the Saints to 16 points in Week 2, the Pats may need to consider needing Gronkowski on the field to make Brady’s offense work.
On the other hand, letting Gronkowski out on the field too early could put him at risk for further injury and ruin their chances of using him in December and January. It’s very likely the Pats offense will scoot by with a victory, even without Gronkowski.
In this case, the Patriots are better off to err on the side of caution, to maintain such a valued player for the demanding games later in the season even if that's sacrificing a potential loss against Tampa Bay.
Article Image via Patriots Today