Patriots Mailbag: Why Expectations Should Be High For Rob Gronkowski

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The New England Patriots picked a bad time to suffer their third double-digit loss of the season.

Since the Patriots lost so decisively to the Tennessee Titans one week before their bye, fans and the media now have had two whole weeks to panic and predict their latest demise.

It’s also possible the Patriots’ bye just came a week too late. The Patriots looked like a tired team against the Titans, but they should be recharged Sunday against the New York Jets in their return to the field. If they aren’t, then it really might be time to panic.

Happy Thanksgiving. Let’s get into this week’s mailbag.

Thoughts on gronk? Expectations for the rest of the season? Play him or Rest him for playoffs?
— @stephenf99
I actually have high expectations for Rob Gronkowski over the final six weeks of the season, despite the fact that he still was limited with ankle and back injuries in practice Wednesday. Much has been made of Gronkowski’s struggles this season, but he’s been injured since Week 4. He had just an ankle injury from Week 4 to Week 6, then he’s had ankle and back injuries since Week 7.

Over the first three weeks of the season, Gronkowski had 13 catches for 189 yards with a touchdown. He was on pace for 69 catches for over 1,000 yards. He definitely looked like his old self in Week 1, when he had seven catches for 123 yards with a touchdown against the Houston Texans.

Gronkowski now has been resting for almost four weeks. Whatever ankle injury he was nursing must be close to healed at this point. The back still could be an issue, but four weeks off from contact has to have helped.

I’m willing to be wrong about this, but I’ll bet Gronkowski will look like himself again over the last six weeks of the season, and the Patriots’ offense obviously will benefit from it.

The staple of the Thanksgiving meals is turkey. Who would you categorize as the “turkey” of the #Patriots, Brady or Belichick? Also you can’t forget the key sides such as stuffing, cranberry sauce, mashed potatoes, etc. Who are the key “sides” on this team? #MailDoug
— @pats_chatter247
I would say Tom Brady is the turkey. Belichick might have to be the chef or the table or something.

Rob Gronkowski is the stuffing. James White is the cranberry sauce. Julian Edelman is the mashed potatoes. Josh Gordon is the gravy. Sony Michel is the green bean casserole. And the offensive line is the rolls.

Chris Hogan is the sweet potatoes your mom forgot in the kitchen until halfway through the meal.

1- why will the Pats win the Super Bowl?
2- why won’t the Pats win the Super Bowl?
— @defendthewall12
The Patriots will win the Super Bowl if their offense starts playing at full potential and their defense finds some consistency. Despite their six-game winning streak from Weeks 4 to 9, I don’t think the Patriots’ offense has played to its upside so far this season. Their defense shined Week 9 against the Green Bay Packers. They need more of those performances.

The Patriots won’t win the Super Bowl if they play like they did Week 10 against the Tennessee Titans. It’s that simple.

The Patriots have been inconsistent and unpredictable this season. If they get back on track after Week 10, they’re Super Bowl contenders.

With so few WRs under contract next year, which of the group (hogan, dorsett, Patterson) do you see returning next season?
— @FirstSonMA
I would say Hogan has the best shot of returning, but it’s possible none of them do. The Patriots only have Julian Edelman, Braxton Berrios, Darren Andrews and Matthew Slater under contract next season. Josh Gordon is a restricted free agent, meaning he’ll either be back in 2019 or the Patriots will receive compensation for him in the form of a draft pick.

The Patriots could look a lot different overall in 2019. Depending on how they manage some bigger contracts like Rob Gronkowski, Devin McCourty and Dont’a Hightower’s, they could have a lot of salary cap room.

Is Duke Dawson the real deal?
— @uriram82
I don’t know. To be honest, we barely saw him this summer as he dealt with lingering hamstring injuries. And when he was on the field, he didn’t stand out consistently.

I have no real expectations for Dawson. He told us Wednesday that he’s been practicing in the slot. So, he could spell Jonathan Jones and Patrick Chung in some defensive groupings as the Patriots give him a look over the final six games of the season.

Who in your view can make the biggest leap down the stretch? Any guys you think can really pick it up and make crucial plays in big games?
— @pereira_report
Some potential players would be running back Rex Burkhead, Hogan, Gordon, Gronkowski, defensive tackle Adam Butler, defensive ends Deatrich Wise and Keionta Davis and Dawson.

The Patriots need a more consistent pass rush, so if Butler, Wise and Davis could get going, that would be huge.

Let’s go rapid fire.

Canned cranberry sauce or real stuff? I’m on team canned. #MailDoug
— @Kid_From_Quincy
I like both. How about that?

What is your perfect plate of food for Thanksgiving? #MailDoug

Also happy thankgiving to Harambe Thunder, etc
— @June__NYC
Turkey
Gravy
Cranberry sauce
Stuffing
Extra green bean casserole
Mashed potatoes
Maybe a vegetable
Cranberry nut bread
Crescent rolls
Pumpkin pie
Chocolate pumpkin pie (it’s good)

And my animals say thank you.

What sport would be the funniest to add a mandatory amount of alcohol to? #maildoug
— @ItsRachelHolt
I feel like it would be baseball. Lots of beaning players and big swings and misses.

Basketball would probably be the most watchable. People would still be able to score baskets, but there would be a lot of air balls.

Pizza with turkey stuffing as a topping. Yeah or Nah?
— @Nikhil_Laksh
Hmm. With cheese and tomato sauce? Nah.

Maybe a pizza with cranberry sauce, turkey and stuffing, though. That could be good.

Do you think the Patriots should draft Zion Williamson in the upcoming draft? #MailDoug
— @Castles_Burning
Yes. Make him a two-way player at tight end and defensive end. The Patriots could replace Gronkowski and Trey Flowers that way.

Within the last 3 years who is the 1 lost free agent you wish hadn’t left
— @Captmike24
It has to be Akiem Hicks, right? He’s tearing it up for the Chicago Bears.

If the Patriots had re-signed Akiem Hicks… who wouldn’t they have been able to afford on their roster? Hightower?
— @PatriotXLIX
I’d rather not go down this road. The Patriots won a Super Bowl in 2016 without Hicks. And from talking to him on a conference call this season, it actually sounds like he picked the Bears over the Patriots in free agency.

If you can choose one QB to replace Tom Brady, who you’ll pick? #MailDoug
— @ofibroso
I’d go with Aaron Rodgers. Is that an option?

Stuffing or dressing?
— @Mpls_Scott
Stuffing.

McLellan or Humber, who’s more likely to see some defensive snaps?
— @m_vill9
I’ll go with Albert McClellan. I think one of those players could be gone next week when Burkhead returns, though.

Who’s more likely to be on the roster and 2019 Danny Shelton or Malcolm brown?
— @patroits4
I’ll go with Malcom Brown. But I don’t think either will be on the team next year.

Why is the O in your name to be efficient it would be Dug right?
— @BillBuster41
Hmm, that’s a good question. Why is that second L in your name? Wouldn’t Bil be more efficient?

Whoa. Turned the tables on you there.

Are you going Black Friday shopping Doug? #MailDoug
— @PatPokemon
I’m not a big Black Friday shopper, Pat. I’ll be down at Gillette Stadium for availability that day. Then I’ll be setting up my Christmas tree that night.

Thumbnail photo via Noah K. Murray/USA TODAY Sports Images

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