The Buccaneers have seen plenty of spikes through two games in 2020, and thankfully, none of them have been positive Covid-19 tests. Devin White’s 26 tackles in two games is a spike from last season. Jason Pierre-Paul and Ndamukong Suh’s 2.0 sacks through two games is a spike from last season. But there’s one spike Buccaneer fan’s have yet to see in 2020.
The Gronk Spike
The Buccaneers brought All-Pro tight end Rob Gronkowski out of retirement during the offseason to bolster the receiving corps, and blocking production on the edge. Gronkowski’s blocking has been stellar, but his involvement in the passing game can be found on a milk carton as it’s missing.
Through two games, Gronkowski has two catches, four targets, 11 yards, and zero touchdowns. But hey, that’s an improvement from his 2019 production, right?!…To put it in perspective, quarterback Taysom Hill of the New Orleans Saints has 14 receiving yards in 2020. No, nobody spiked your drink, you read that correctly.
The Buccaneers motive of bringing Gronkowski to Tampa Bay was to create a seamless transition for career-long teammate quarterback Tom Brady, specifically in the red-zone. Through two games, the Buccaneeers rank fourth in the NFL in red-zone scoring production (TD’s only). The Buccaneers have scored five TD’s on six red-zone trips. Brady is 7-9 for 36yds and two TD’s in the red-zone. Gronkowski has zero of those targets. Despite the lack of Gronk in the red-zone, the Buccaneers have scored a TD on 83.33% of its red-zone attempts.
So, the Buccaneers haven’t thrown to Gronkowski once in the red-zone, but they’re still scoring? As much as fans long for the Gronk spike, I think an 83.33% red-zone TD rate is something to get behind.
Head coach Bruce Arians had this to say in a recent press conference regarding Gronkowski’s usage in the passing game:
“We brought him (Gronkowski) in to play tight end. If that means no catches, it means no catches.”
That being said, one could assume the Buccaneers are paying Gronkowski $9-million to do a bit more than block. And with the recent spike in dropped passes by receivers, as well as the recent injuries to WR’s Justin Watson (shoulder) and Scotty Miller (hip/groin), one could also assume Gronkowski sees a spike in targets.
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers play at Denver against the Broncos in week 3. Wouldn’t it make sense for Gronkowski to record 69 yards and score at Mile High?