Rob Gronkowski hasn’t looked the same this season, and former New England Patriots tight end Christian Fauria has a theory on why that’s the case.

In short, Fauria has a problem with Gronkowski subscribing to Tom Brady’s TB12 method, which emphasizes excercise using resistance bands rather than traditional weight training.

“You go into TB12, and you’re a tight end. You’re not a quarterback. That works for Brady — (Julian) Edelman does the TB12 Method also. But, (Edelman) is still in the weight room getting stronger,” Fauria, co-host of WEEI’s “Ordway, Merloni & Fauria,” said on the air this week, per “He’s still got a lot of power in his legs. When guys hurt their backs, they don’t have the necessary strength around their hip joints and flexors.

“That’s why I’m not surprised his back went out. That’s why he gets called for holding. He can’t hold the point of attack as well as he used to. He doesn’t have the explosion. That’s why he catches the ball one yard behind the first-down marker, and can’t find his way out. I think he’s weaker. I think he’s less flexible.”

Gronkowski is in the midst of his ninth NFL season with New England. He’s earned five Pro Bowl selections and is widely considered one of the best tight ends in NFL history, but his production is down across the board in 2018. He’s totaled just 35 catches for 530 yards with two touchdowns in nine games. The 29-year-old has missed three games due to ankle and back injuries.

The TB12 method used by Brady under the guidance of Alex Guerrero clearly has worked for the Patriots quarterback, who’s in the midst of his 19th NFL season at age 41. But it also has been a controversial topic in New England thanks to Guerrero reportedly telling Patriots players to use his training regimen rather than follow the team’s workout instructions.

Fauria, who spent four seasons with the Patriots from 2002 through 2005, believes it would be in Gronkowski’s best interest to go back to his old workout habits. Perhaps that’ll help turn around a somewhat lackluster season from the four-time First-Team All-Pro.

“You’re squatting, you’re benching, you’re working on explosive power,” Fauria said of the Patriots’ workouts, as opposed to the TB12 method. “You can’t play tight end in this league and just work with bands.”

Thumbnail photo via Stew Milne/USA TODAY Sports Images