FOXBORO, Mass. — Rob Gronkowski admitted Wednesday he is frustrated in the New England Patriots’ offense so far — and it’s hard to blame him.
After all, the Patriots tight end has seen a steady dose of double coverage this season from opposing defenses, which (correctly) have identified him as the only dangerous pass-catcher in New England’s depleted offense.
“I mean, I?m frustrated — well, I mean, the frustration comes from the aspect of the losses,” Gronkowski said in a press conference.
Help should be on the way soon — wide receiver Josh Gordon could make his debut Sunday against the Miami Dolphins, while Julian Edelman returns from his three-game suspension in Week 5. (The team reportedly also worked out free agent wide receiver Jeremy Kerley.)
But in the meantime, Gronk is expecting more double teams to come his way.
“You?ve got to get into a different mindset,” Gronkowski said. “I?ve got to start adjusting to coverages. You?ve got to go into another mindset, another level, in order to take on two guys if you want to get open, so that?s what I feel like I?ve got to do and I?ve got to work on.”
What does that mindset entail?
“Just got to go harder,” Gronkowski replied.
After a brief pause, another option appeared to dawn on the All-Pro tight end.
“Or you?ve got to take them away and let the offense execute what the offense has to do,” he added. “Make sure I still do my job and take those two guys with me or whatever it is and keep going full-speed so the play can develop wherever it?s going to.”
In theory, that’s what should be happening: All the attention on Gronkowski should allow the Patriots’ other pass-catchers to get open. That didn’t happen last Sunday, though. New England’s wide receivers (Chris Hogan, Phillip Dorsett and Cordarrelle Patterson) combined for just four catches in a 26-10 loss to the Detroit Lions.
Gronkowski didn’t go so far as to call out his fellow pass-catchers, though.
“I think the personnel we have definitely can get the job done,” he said. “I feel like just overall, as an offense, we?ve just got to go out and we?ve got to execute. We?ve got to put some plays together; we?ve got to put some drives together.”
The Patriots have an opportunity to do just that Sunday at Gillette Stadium: The Miami Dolphins have allowed 288.3 passing yards per game during their 3-0 start, fourth-highest in the NFL. Whether New England’s skill players can exploit Miami’s secondary — and whether Gordon will be among those skill players on the field — remains to be seen, however.