Rob Gronkowski should be a motivated man for Sunday’s AFC Championship Game.
Not only is Gronk facing the Denver Broncos for the first time since they injured him in the New England Patriots’ Week 12 loss, but the Patriots tight end also has some bulletin board material to work with now that Broncos linebacker Brandon Marshall decided to open his mouth.
ProFootballTalk asked Marshall on Monday what makes Gronkowski so hard to cover. Rather than sticking to compliments, Marshall gave his honest opinion, which is sure to rile up some Pats fans.
“I say because he pushes off,” Marshall said. “I mean, he pushes off and he gets away with it about 98 percent of the time.”
Gronkowski’s five offensive pass interference penalties this season — tied with Tampa Bay Buccaneers wide receiver Mike Evans for the most in the NFL — suggest there’s some truth to Marshall’s complaint. One doesn’t become one of the most dominant tight ends in NFL history simply by pushing off, though. Gronk is a beast, which Marshall also acknowledged when discussing Sunday’s matchup.
“I think he’s a great tight end,” Marshall said. “He’s big, he’s fast. He’s faster than what you would think. And he has great hands.”
Gronkowski caught 72 passes for 1,176 yards and 11 touchdowns during the regular season before racking up seven catches for 83 yards and two touchdowns in Saturday’s AFC divisional round win over the Kansas City Chiefs.
Thumbnail photo via David Butler II/USA TODAY Sports Images
Thumbnail photo via New England Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski
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