While the New England Patriots haven’t had much problems moving the ball in the preseason so far, it’s hard to imagine anyone is happy about Rob Gronkowski recovering slower than expected, and in all likelihood not being ready to play for them when the regular season opens.
According to Adam Schefter, the expectations from the Patriots’ premier tight end to return by the time they’ll be facing the Bills in week 1 are unrealistic, and a later return after back and forearm surgery is something to be expected.
Even if Gronkowski is healthy enough to play by the opening weekend, the fact that he still hasn’t had a single practice or workout with the team means that he won’t be really up to speed with the rest of the team or anywhere near the level expected of a player when coming out of training camp, which means it’ll actually be a danger putting him on the field in that situation.
The Patriots are still reeling from cutting Aaron Hernandez, which wouldn’t have been such a disaster if Gronkwoski was up & running heading into the new season. From the remaining options – Daniel Fells, Michael Hoomanawanui and rookie tight end Zach Sudfeld, who actually caught three passes for 34 yards and a touchdown in the team’s 25-21 win over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in their second preseason game.
Things aren’t that great at wide receiver as well, althoug the combination of Brady and Danny Amendola seemed to be working fine in preseason so far. Beyond Amendola, things are really getting quite thin, and it’s going to take the best of Brady’s ability on the field, and the best of Belichick’s ability to improvise and create something out of no-name players or even those playing out of position for the Patriots to produce another ultra-dominant season in the AFC East and position themselves as Super Bowl candidates.