Defensive coordinators weigh in on Buccaneers’ Tom Brady, Rob Gronkowski duo
The duo of quarterback Tom Brady and tight end Rob Gronkowski terrorized opposing defenses for nearly the entirety of the previous decade. Now, to kick off 2020, they’re back together again, albeit in a different setting — Tampa, with the Buccaneers, as opposed to Foxboro.
But the reunion seemingly isn’t all that concerning to opposing defensive coordinators, per ESPN’s Dianna Russini (via NESN.com). Russini mentioned that Gronkowski — in the conversation for most dominant tight end that the sport has ever seen — isn’t drawing the usual amount of attention. She said:
“In terms of concern for him being a threat — from what I can gather in my conversations — it’s not a high priority … They know that he’s vertical, he’s long. He’s going to run those seams.”
Of course, he has “run those seams” to the tune of 79 career receiving touchdowns, which earned him five Pro Bowl appearances and four first-team All-Pro honors.
The lack of concern for Gronkowski may actually be more of a compliment to the Buccaneers wide receivers that will be lining up alongside him. Mike Evans and Chris Godwin have combined to become arguably the best wideout duo in the league, a safety blanket that Gronkowski never had during his tenure in New England. But that begs the question: Even with a year off, won’t that make Gronkowski all the more lethal?
The same nonchalance has been displayed concerning Brady. Per Russini:
“It’s all about getting him on the ground … He is not as dynamic in the pocket anymore. In terms of them as a duo, yes, they are still going to be a threat. But this is not the Tom Brady, the Rob Gronkowski we’ve seen in years past, according to defensive coordinators I’ve talked to.”
Only time will tell if these coordinators were prognosticating the future correctly or if the Brady-Gronkowski duo’s performance will force them to eat their words.