Rob Gronkowski: Has He Finally Emerged for Buccaneers?


Are people reading into Rob Gronkowski’s progress as part of the 2020 Tampa Bay Buccaneers? The former All-Pro tight end from the New England Patriots joined quarterback Tom Brady thanks to a trade a year removed from retirement. Has Gronk lost a step? So far through six games he’s caught 17 balls for 218 years and one score. His most productive game was part of the 38-10 thrashing against the Green Bay Packers. He caught five balls for 78 yards and his first score as a member of the team. Is there a lot to read into? Where does Gronkowski factor into the offense the next few games?

Why Rob Gronkowski Will Thrive

The whole receiving corps can only benefit the more time Brady spends in the Bruce Arians and Byron Leftwich offense. Given Gronkowski’s recent production, we’re already seeing shades of that. Plus, with O. J. Howard out for the season, he becomes more of the primary pass-catching tight end who can stretch the field. Gronkowski was probably lost in the shuffle with Brady having too many mouths to feed. As he’s finding others like Tyler Johnson and Scotty Miller in the end zone, it shows teams can’t simply double up on him and Mike Evans.

But The There’s This

As the first half of the season winds down, Gronkowski is on his way to matching his worst receiving numbers since his lesser Patriot seasons in 2010, 2013, and 2016 where he failed to eclipse 600 yards. What didn’t help was those injury-shortened seasons. His lack of productivity is consistent with questions of his durability, which the year off didn’t help him enough to soothe the discussions away. The season is still wide open. Winning against the Las Vegas Raiders will give the Buccaneers a unique advantage in defeating a common opponent that the New Orleans Saints lost to. A repeat performance could be key to help defeat Jon Gruden and his squad.