Johnson hosts a weekday show on ESPN Radio where the topic of Gronkowski’s retirement and what it means for the Buccaneers came up. Johnson doesn’t see Gronk’s retirement as an issue for the team.
“It’s a hit, but it’s not severe to the demise of the team. The team will still be able to function, move forward, find another red zone target, potentially use Mike Evans in that role a little more because of the size situation.”
Johnson went on to point out the the Buccaneers as a team will be fine without Gronk, “Because they got the defense.”
The big concern here is Tom Brady losing his favorite weapon, his security blanket if you will. Gronkowski provides a mismatch nearly every time he runs a route. Especially in or around the red zone. The ability to create mismatches can be replaced, the chemistry between Brady and Gronk can’t be matched. But as Johnson points out, the Buccaneers should be able to run the ball efficiently and with Mike Evans and eventually Chris Godwin running routes the Bucs can fill the void left by Gronkowski’s retirement.
While we tend to agree with Johnson, we do want to point out that the Buccaneers do still have Cameron Brate. Brate led all tight ends in touchdowns in 2016. He’s been a favorite target of Buccaneers’ quarterbacks like Jameis Winston and Ryan Fitzpatrick. Brate was also the top performer in red zone touchdowns for the 2016 season. He has been the one constant at the position since joining the team in 2015. He isn’t Gronk, but he can fill the role of mismatch creator in the red zone.
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