The New England Patriots have some concerns about their offensive game going into the 2013 NFL Season, and especially the quality of targets Tom Brady has to throw to. With a little bit of luck, they might have Rob Gronkowski up & running sooner than anyone expected, maybe even ready to play in week 1.
Gronkowski, recovering from back surgery and earlier from the procedure on his arm, was always expected to be ready for the beginning of the season or at least healthy for week 1, but the Patriots feared they might have to put him on the P.U.P list, which means making him unavailable for six weeks.
According to Albert Breer of NFL.com, Gronkowski has been up & running for a while, and a decision regarding his activation will be made during the weekend. It’s unlikely that Belichick will risk him on the field during the first week in a game against the Bills, and then again not in week 2, which is coming after only four days of rest against the Jets, but it will be very surprising if we don’t see him playing some snaps in Week 3 against the Buccaneers, which will be on September 22.
Gronkowski, entering his fourth NFL season, played in only 11 games last season, finishing with 55 receptions for 790 yards and 11 touchdowns. Following his 2011 season, in which he caught 17 touchdown passes through 90 catches and 1327 yards, he became regarded as possibly the best end zone target in the NFL.
The Patriots do have Tom Brady playing well for most of the time in the preseason, but the most recent game against the Detroit Lions, with Danny Amendola missing, showed the problems even one of the best quarterbacks of all-time might have in finding targets when the quality of his receivers isn’t something to brag about.