The New England Patriots new tight end, Rob Gronkowski, is my new favorite player. Called, almost appropriately, “Gronk”, he is one of three Gronkowskis in the league this season. Chris Gronkowski plays fullback for Dallas and Dan Gronkowski, is a tight end for the Lions. They are the only set of three siblings in the NFL at this time.
Gronk is an absolute beast. 6’6″ and 264 pounds, and only 21, he is what I like to call a “big fella”.
His play during the first half of the Rams/Patriots game tonight solidified my good opinion of him. He’s a big, blocking tight end and taking over in a position that’s been largely ineffective the last few years.
But that’s not all the Patriots did to improve their tight end play.
They added speedy Aaron Hernandez and bull-dozing Alge Crumpler to create a really interesting mix of tight ends that can add wrinkles to the Patriots offense this season.
And tonight, both Gronk and Crumpler have been showing off.
In the first half, Gronkowski literally dragged linebacker James Laurinaitis about five yards before diving and just breaking the plane for a touchdown. He looked like a favorite uncle trying to escape the pesky niece or nephew that just won’t let go of his foot. (Video here)
And the Patriots were in the red zone thanks to a huge, on his knees, hands clamped onto the ball catch on the sideline by Alge Crumpler. I’d say that was Sportscenter highlight number one and Gronk’s trip to the end zone number two. (Video here)
I would look for Gronk to be a big end zone target in the mold of Mike Vrabel. Vrabel worked as a touchdown target because he was big, quick, and had good hands. Vrabel was two inches shorter and four pounds lighter than Gronkowski.
And Crumpler will not only provide an experienced blocker with good hands, but his ten years of experience will rub off on his rookie counterparts.
How much better is this team going to be when you can’t tell if Brady is going to check down to one of his tight ends, or if they will provide blocks for runs or big throws. Plus, it is hard for some of the guys in the backfield, who average about 6′, 200 pounds, to guard someone who is just plain bigger than them.
Now if only some of the awesomeness of the new tight ends will rub off on the defense, the Patriots will be unstoppable.