“I’m a blocking tight end. I came to block, baby.” Rob Gronkowski proclaimed in his presser at the Advent Health Center.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers fans may have had different visions about what Rob Gronkowski would bring to the team this season. One of the greatest receiving tight ends in NFL history also happens to be one of the best blocking tight ends.
Arians has been critical of the blocking from the tight end position, specifically calling out the tight ends blocking after the week one matchup against the Saints. That tune changed after the Panthers game with Arians complimenting the blocking effort.
The Signs Were There
This is the Bruce Arians offense. Back in 2015 the head coach exclaimed, “We pay Larry (Fitzgerald) and those guys too much money to throw it to tight ends. They’re here to block.” This sentiment was echoed by Arians again this week. “We’re not throwing the ball 50 times to tight ends. That’s what we have receivers for.”
Gronkowski is a team player and has expressed comfort with his role. “Four targets is four more than I thought I was gonna get.” he said with a smile.
Different But The Same
This offense has become a hybrid of the Arians and Tom Brady offense. Quick passes to running backs and receivers are the hallmark of a Brady offense. Tight ends used sparingly as receivers is the norm from Arians. This further signals what fans can expect out of the tight end position as the year progresses.
Gronkowski has run 42 routes so far this season and has only two receptions for 11 yards. Whether or not this slow start is due to Gronkowski’s extended absence from the game or Arians offensive plans, it is clear that the this is a different kind of year from the iconic player.
“I’m a blocking tight end. I came to block, baby.” That much has been clear.