FOXBOROUGH, Mass. – The New England Patriots are preparing to play their 26th game since 2010 without tight end Rob Gronkowski when they visit the Miami Dolphins on Monday night.
The Patriots are 20-5 in those games, including 9-0 since the start of the 2016 season. Their last loss without Gronkowski was in the 13th week of the 2015 season against the Philadelphia Eagles.
So, how much will Gronkowski's absence really hurt him?
Obviously it does not help, especially considering the Dolphins' fight to cover ends, but as the numbers reflect it is not something the Patriots can not overcome, especially if catcher Chris Hogan (is approaching as he gets closer). recover from a shoulder injury) returns to action and the two-headed attack Dion Lewis and Rex Burkhead continue to generate a positive momentum.
Quarterback Tom Brady's stats have dropped slightly without Gronkowski, but they are still strong: a percentage of completions of 66 with Gronkowski in the field and 62 without him. Brady averages 8 yards per attempt with Gronkowski and 7 without him.
Gronkowski is coming off the season's highs in white (11), receptions (9) and receiving yards (147) in Sunday's victory over the Buffalo Bills and the Patriots do not have a tight end n. ° 2 that can come close to doubling that type of production. But Dwayne Allen, who is behind Gronkowski on the depth chart and has five receptions for 40 yards this season, contributes in other ways (mainly as a high-level blocker).
"Dwayne played a very solid role for us all year long, he has played a lot of football, and I am sure he will continue to play a lot of football for us," coach Bill Belichick said. Dwayne works hard. He does what we ask him to do. He does his best to do it the way we ask him to do it. Some things are different from the way they taught you to do them in the past, but you have been very open and receptive to trying to do what the team needs you to do in a particular work or situation or technique, or whatever it may be. .
"So he has been a great man to have on the team, he has a great attitude, he is willing to do everything we ask him to do to help the football team, and you can not ask for more than that" .
|Yds per att||8.0||7.0|
|Source: ESPN Stats & Information|
The last time the Patriots were without Gronkowski, in a Week 5 victory at Tampa Bay this season (a game on Thursday by the night did not give Gronkowski enough time to recover from a thigh injury), Allen played 50 games.
You can expect a similar workload against the Dolphins, with the undrafted rookie Jacob Hollister reached the No. 2 on the depth chart (Will Tye is another option if the coaches think it's better to promote him from the squad of practices). Fullback James Develin, who finds himself with closed wings, could also see an increase in snaps.
But the Patriots could also take advantage of their assets in other areas, using more packages of three receivers or packages of two runners – Part of their identity is transforming their attack into something new every week.
Usually, Gronkowski is on the field almost for every snap, so now they'll have to avoid it, they have 25 games of experience. to regain support while they put together their game plan.