I just dont get why ESPN is making a huge deal about Gronk being out? Its like they rarely mention he was out alot of the 2nd half of the season and during that time Pats offense was still putting up tons of points. Yes he is the best TE in the league and a TD machine but Brady is the one QB who excels at giving everyone touches and not focusing on one guy. In week 3 against the Ravens Lloyd and Welker had huge games and we should have won. I can easily see Hernandez and Welker having big games and Vereen and Ridley creating problems.
It's because ESPN making a big deal out of things is what ESPN does best. Usually they are best ignored.
But I thought this was interesting. Read it on Rotoworld.
The Patriots averaged 6.0 yards per play when Rob Gronkowski was on the field this season, compared to 5.4 when he was off of it.
Further, Tom Brady's completion percentage fell from 65.7 to 58.4 when Gronk wasn't on the field. The Pats boasted a 23:3 TD:INT ratio on snaps Gronk played, compared to 11:6 without him. Those numbers include four pass attempts, and one interception, from Ryan Mallett. Of course, the Patriots went 4-1 without Gronk in the regular season, but this is proof positive of how big of a factor his absence could be against the Ravens.
Related: Tom Brady
Source: ESPN.com Jan 15 - 10:02 PM
Losing Gronk isn't a back breaker (Brady has done more with less in the past), but it does make it harder for the Pats, especially in the red zone where he's such a force. He was a major weapon and now that's one less big target to work with. The Pats have gotten by without Edelman, though he is missed both as a receiver and a punt returner. But while you can replace his production at WR with Lloyd, and PR
with Welker, you can't replace Gronk's production with Hoowanawhateverhisnameis. And I don't include Hernandez because he's always going to get his regardless of Gronk's involvement.
It's just that now the Pats are down to 3 targets that are trustworthy: Welker, Hernandez, and Lloyd. Gronk will be missed, but hopefully not enough to prevent the Pats from outscoring the Ravens on Sunday.