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Matt LaPan

SPOT: Is it "Gronk" time in New England?

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Through two games in the 2013-14 Patriots season it has been well documented that the usual high-flying offense has been grounded. It has also been well documented that Tom Brady has been left with next to nothing when it comes to proven talent. Of the top receiving threats from the 2012-13 Patriots, only Rob Gronkowski remains with the team, and he has yet to see a snap with the new-look Patriots.

Yet with a report from ESPN's Ed Werder (@Edwerderespn), Patriots fans are seeing a glimmer of hope again. According to Werder's report, Gronkowski has a "50-50" chance of making his season debut this Sunday at Gillette Stadium. With this report many fans are eagerly awaiting the return of "Gronk", but is it too soon? Should the Patriots continue to hold out Gronkowski until he 100 percent?

Gronkowski has shown in recent years that he is one of the best tight ends in the game while he is on the field. He has set multiple NFL records and become one of the biggest scoring threat, becoming the first tight end to ever lead the NFL in receiving touchdowns in 2011. But Gronkowski has struggled with injuries ever since breaking his arm in Week 11 of the 2012 season.

Since then Gronkowski has seen action in only one game, the AFC Divisional Playoff round where he re-broke the same arm. He has required three additional surgeries to clear infections in that arm and a surgery on his back since that time. With all of these injuries, is it smart for the Patriots to hold off on bringing back Gronkowski despite their offensive woes?

This Sunday, the Patriots will welcome the 0-2 Tampa Bay Buccaneers to Foxboro. The Buccaneers have given up 18 receptions for 265 yards and two touchdowns to tight ends in just two games. The Patriots tight ends, on the other hand, have completed just one pass to a tight end, a five yard completion to Michael Hoomanawanui in the season-opening win over the Buffalo Bills. So this would be the perfect game for Gronkowski to return, right?

That answer is not so cut-and-dry. The Patriots are 2-0 and have a game with NFL power Atlanta looming on the horizon in Week 4 and could risk further injury with Gronkowski on the field for the Tampa Bay game. Although the reward has the potential to be high for Gronkowski, the risk is too great. The Patriots are better served to wait until Gronkowski is 100 percent, even if that means missing more games than if he had been placed on PUP.

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I've heard that he's likely to be kept out another week. They're saying that Werder's report was premature and that Gronk is close to 25% ready than 50%. We'll see, but I don't think they should rush his comeback. Let him get 100% healthy before throwing him back out on the field.

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I completely agree that you need to sit him until he's ready to go. 

 

Yes, that Pats offense has been vomity (if that's not a word, it should be), but they're still 2-0.  There's no emergency here. 

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I doubt you see him against Tampa Bay since that's a winnable game even without him. Brady's frustration against New York though was unlike I've seen it in a long time.

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I honestly think he might not even be needed for the Atlanta game any more following the injury situation in Atlanta. Might be best to hold him out until the first week of October.

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If you don't sit Gronk, you're risking losing him for this season and maybe some of the future afterwards. The team is 2-0. If they lose against TB, then you consider bringing him in.

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Completely agree. Backs dont get better by abusing them, they should be able to beat up on Tampa due to all the drama down there. Even with Gholston, the Buccaneers are a team that appears to be heading in the wrong direction

Edited by Matt LaPan

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Im not sold on that idea, i think they need a change at the top though. Both QB and coach go and they are a playoff team IMO

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