There have been few pass-catchers in NFL history more dominant than a prime Rob Gronkowski.
Gronkowski is a matchup nightmare. At 6-foot-6 and nearly 270 pounds, the star tight end can overpower defensive backs and he has more than enough speed to blow past linebackers. Gronk nearly is impossible to defend with a single player, and deploying double coverage on the five-time Pro Bowl selection sometimes isn’t enough, either.
Houston Texans safety Michael Thomas broke down the difficulty of defending Gronk in the latest Football Morning in America column for NBC Sports. Thomas, who squared off against Gronkowski quite a bit over his five seasons with the Miami Dolphins, explained how defenses only can do so much against the future Hall of Famer.
“I think Rob Gronkowski was that guy where it didn’t matter how great you defended him all game,” Thomas wrote. “The defense knew that he was going to find a way to seal himself off or get himself open and find a way to score. He was definitely the toughest tight end to face, because he knows Tom Brady is going to find a way to get him the ball. He was a mental problem because he had a great quarterback (and this season he’ll have him again) and he’s a big dude who can move and be physical. It was always a battle. But we knew to keep guarding him, keep battling, because otherwise he’s going to make plays.”
It remains to be seen if that version of Gronk is completely in the rearview mirror. He largely was a shell of himself in his final season with the New England Patriots, and a slew of injuries played a key part in Gronk taking the 2019 campaign off. But the 31-year-old by all accounts his 100 percent healthy as the 2020 season approaches, and perhaps he and Tom Brady will be able to rekindle their old magic as teammates on the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
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