Conspicuous by his absence on the stat sheet, Rob Gronkowski explained his lack of targets through week 2. “I’m here to block, baby,” the future hall of fame tight end said.
In the 33 routes that Gronkowski has run thus far, he has only seen Tom Brady throw the ball his way four times. “We aren’t throwing the ball to the tight end 50 times a game,” Tampa Bay Buccaneers coach Bruce Arians said earlier this week. As it stands right now, Gronkowski is playing decoy as he’s been on the field for 73% of the 122 snaps for the Buccaneers. 27% of the time that Gronkowski is on the field, he’s running routes.
“I’m a blocking tight end,” Gronk said jokingly. “So four targets is four more than I thought I was gonna get.” Over the last seven seasons, Gronkowski has seen 13.4 targets per game in the first two weeks. However, coming out of retirement and hanging up his WWE boots, this is something that could have been expected. It’s only a matter of time before the Brady-Gronkowski nine-year connection reignites- even if just for a glimmer.
The Denver Broncos will host the Bucs on Sunday, finally Gronkowski could show up on the stat sheet. For the first time, Mike Evans and Chris Godwin will both be injury-free for the Buccaneers; with two superstars running routes – someone has to be open. The Broncos have allowed 11 receptions for 88 yards and two touchdowns to TE’s through week 2; while struggling in back-to-back weeks to stop opposing running backs. Derrick Henry tallied 116 yards in the first game of the season; while James Conner had 106 yards last week. Leonard Fournette put up 103 rushing yards and two trips to the endzone against the Carolina Panthers last week. Godwin missed the game while in the concussion protocol; and the Panthers defense still seemingly had no answers for the Buccaneers offense.
Broncos defensive coordinator Joe Woods has his work cut out for him with the pick-your-poison Buccaneers offense. With all of the blocking talk and lack of production; a “Gronk-spike” or two could be in the future for Sundays game.