Posts Tagged ‘Rob Gronkowski’

Undrafted Tight End Justin Jones Learning Under Rob Gronkowski at Patriots Camp

Saturday, July 26th, 2014

As a 6’8″ undrafted rookie tight end, Justin Jones is looking to make his play stand apart at Patriots training camp. (Photo: Oliver Thomas)

NEPD Editor: Oliver Thomas

Justin Jones has a natural advantage over the defenders covering him at New England Patriots training camp. But for the 6’8”, 275-pound undrafted tight end, it’s about learning to get the most out of it.

He has one to learn from in the 6’6”, 265-pound Rob Gronkowski. (more…)

Patriots Tight End Breakdown: Six Deep in Final Week of OTAs

Wednesday, June 11th, 2014

Asa Watson is one of five Patriots tight ends vying for a roster spot behind Rob Gronkowski. (USA Today Sports Images)

NEPD Editor: Oliver Thomas

The New England Patriots entered the final week of organized team activities with five tight ends on the 90-man roster. But by the time Monday’s session drew to a close, so did the tenure of undrafted rookie wide receiver Derrick Johnson.

A sixth tight end was signed in his place.

It’s unknown how long the untested group will carry that allotment. What is known is that two OTAs separate the Patriots from mandatory minicamp, and three minicamp practices separate the Patriots from a month-long summer break.

Between now and then, moves will be made on the back end of the roster. Many will depart from Gillette Stadium on June 19 without the surety that they’ll return for training camp on July 16.

Yet within that uncertainty lies competition. And at tight end, where the average age is just 24 years old, there’s no shortage of opportunity for it. (more…)

In the Red Zone: Examining the Patriots Passing Attack vs. Dolphins in Week 15

Tuesday, December 17th, 2013

Julian Edelman and the productive Patriots passing game met its match in the red zone. (USA Today Sports Images)

NEPD Editor: Oliver Thomas

While 34 completions, 364 yards and two touchdowns convey otherwise, the New England Patriots passing game was condensed in Sunday’s 24-20 loss to the Miami Dolphins.

Without tight end Rob Gronkowski attracting defenders off the line, without rookie wideouts Aaron Dobson and Kenbrell Thompkins stretching the edges of the field, and without left tackle Nate Solder enduring blocks off the blind side, New England’s offense was forced to change shape.

The unit did so with backup tight end Michael Hoomanawanui supplanting Gronkowski, Julian Edelman, Danny Amendola and fourth-round pick Josh Boyce occupying the top three wide receiver spots, and left guard Logan Mankins transitioning to left tackle.

The modifications exchanged size and downfield presence for short, timing routes built to exploit Miami’s off-man and press-ball coverage while preserving quarterback Tom Brady.

The offense remained relatively efficient through the process. Brady was sacked once, hurried 12 times and hit seven times, according to Pro Football Focus, but the Patriots managed to sustain drives of 16, 10, 15 and 12 plays long.

As those four drives merged into the red zone, however, New England’s undermanned and undersized attack revealed its side effects.

Only one drive inside the 20 resulted in a touchdown. (more…)

Chasing Continuity: Tracking Patriots Personnel Following Rob Gronkowski’s Week 14 Injury

Monday, December 9th, 2013

Rob Gronkowski’s departure from Sunday’s game against the Cleveland Browns left the Patriots offense searching for answers. (NFL Game Rewind)

NEPD Editor: Oliver Thomas

The New England Patriots are chasing continuity. But in a sport predicated on speed, power and physicality, continuity is elusive. From one game to the next, teams battle against attrition.

And attrition is undefeated.

Versus the Cleveland Browns in Week 14, that sentiment was illustrated once again. The Patriots offense, already without right tackles Sebastian Vollmer and Marcus Cannon, backup tight end Michael Hoomanawanui, as well as wide receivers Aaron Dobson and Kenbrell Thompkins, found itself without two-time All-Pro tight end Rob Gronkowski.

With 8:32 left to play in the third quarter, Gronkowski caught a 21-yard pass from quarterback Tom Brady before his right leg caught the shoulder of Browns safety T.J. Ward. The towering, 6’6”, 265-pound target was taken to the hospital, and on Monday, New England’s worst fears were confirmed.

Gronkowski’s 2013 season was over after just seven games, and in turn, his health for 2014 was cast in a shadow of doubt. He had torn his ACL and MCL.

But on Dec. 8, the Patriots didn’t have time to process the future. All the Patriots could do was respond over the remaining 18 minutes – without Gronkowski’s 39 catches, 592 yards and four touchdowns, his unremitting double- teams, and his blocking prowess.

Head coach Bill Belichick, offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels and the undermanned offensive personnel did respond. And by using a similar procedure, New England surged to defeat the Browns in the final seconds, 27-26. (more…)

Accounting for No. 87: How Rob Gronkowski Challenged the Houston Texans Defense

Tuesday, December 3rd, 2013

Rob Gronkowski’s influence on the Patriots offense was illustrated in Sunday’s win over the Houston Texans. (USA Today Sports Images)

NEPD Editor: Oliver Thomas

Rob Gronkowski is making up for lost time.

After missing the first six weeks of the 2013 season, the New England Patriots two-time All-Pro has returned as if he never left. Since his reintegration on Oct. 20, the 6’6”, 265-pound tight end has reeled in 37 passes for 560 yards in four touchdowns. Over his last four games, however, Gronkowski has tallied 27 receptions for 419 yards and four touchdowns.

The influence of New England’s 2010 second-round pick has been unmistakable. His presence has deepened the passing attack. His presence has drawn defenders. His presence has created mismatches. And while all opponent game plans account for No. 87, that itself is a double-edged sword.

Under an open roof at Reliant Stadium against the Houston Texans in Week 13, that schematic dilemma was on display. (more…)

2013 Patriots Roster Projection: Training Camp Ahead

Tuesday, July 23rd, 2013

Rob Gronkowski’s injury issues have people looking at the Patriots roster in new ways.

NEPD Editor: James Christensen

The Patriots got richer during the 2013 NFL Draft, adding youth and talent to a roster that has made multiple deep playoff runs.

Starting later this week, training camp will play host to a brutal competition for the last few spots on the 53-man roster.

Who made the cut?


Patriots Tight End Depth Coming into Focus

Tuesday, June 25th, 2013
Gronkowski hernandez

The uncertainty surrounding these two is real. Is it a real problem though? (Photo: US Presswire)

NEPD Staff Writer: Oliver Thomas

This offseason has been one to remember and one to forget for the New England Patriots. But it has been for reasons other than “Tebowmania” and “Ring Gate.”

It has been because of the tight end position.


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