Bruce Arians offers big hint on Rob Gronkowski’s role
There’s been some disappointment that Rob Gronkowski hasn’t been the huge offensive weapon for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers that he was in his Patriots prime. Based on what coach Bruce Arians said Tuesday, it doesn’t sound like that’s going to change.
Gronkowski has made just two catches for 11 yards in the first two games of the season. Both of those catches came in the season opener against the Saints, and he’s only been targeted four times.
On Tuesday, Arians said he was “not really” surprised by Gronk’s lack of involvement in the passing game. The coach also seemed to indicate that it probably wasn’t going to significantly change.
“He got a nice pass interference call for us. Missed him on the over route,” Arians said, via Josh Alper of ProFootballTalk. “We’re not throwing the ball 50 times to the tight ends. That’s what we have receivers for, that’s the way our offense is built. Gronk’s playing great run blocking in the fourth quarter, so I’m not concerned with his pass catches or his targets.”
In other words, expect Tom Brady to keep throwing to the likes of Mike Evans and Chris Godwin instead of Gronkowski. The tight end’s role in the Buccaneer offense is clearly more about blocking than catching passes. When Brady does throw to a tight end, O.J. Howard seems to be the preferred option, as he has five catches on nine targets so far in 2020.
There’s been a good amount of talk about Gronkowski’s disappointingly limited role in the Tampa Bay offense. Gronk isn’t the same player he used to be, and his physical limitations are becoming more apparent. Arians probably knows that, which is precisely why Gronk’s role is what it is.