EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

Sports

December 15, 2012

Gronk not needed now ... save him for playoffs

FOXBORO — For Gronk’s sake, let the guy sit.

Not just for his sake mind you, but for the best opportunity the New England Patriots might have of taking Super Bowl XLVII, let Rob Gronkowski rest, recover and ready himself completely for the playoff run.

As we saw 10 months ago against the Giants in Indy, Gronk, who limped through the motions in Super Bowl XLVI with a tattered ankle, might just be the difference between victory and defeat.

Tonight’s (8:25 p.m.) Gillette dance with San Francisco? Sure, it’s a large one.

By the time the afternoon games settle themselves, the Pats (10-3) could indeed be playing for the No. 1 seed in the AFC — with only cupcakes Jacksonville and Miami remaining in their crosshairs. After having its manhood stripped here a week ago by the Pats, Houston (11-2) hosts Andrew Luck and the Colts (9-4), while Denver (10-3) has no gimme at the house Ray Lewis built with the Ravens (9-4).

Per usual, Bill Belichick offered little info on the Gronk situation.

“(He is) day-to-day. Hopefully today is better than yesterday,” said the coach on Friday. “Hopefully tomorrow will be better than today.”

Gronkowski’s forearm problem has kept him out of the last three games, and the offense hasn’t exactly struggled, piling up 38.0 points a game.

But the Pats are at the point that any other losses could be critical, especially against legitimate competition in a playoff atmosphere.

Julian Edelman is out. Donte Stallworth filled in and is now out. And Deion Branch was here, was released and is again back.

Visanthe Shiancoe wasn’t the insurance policy we expected. And Aaron Hernandez limps, leans or stumbles back to the huddle after every play he makes. He may just be a matter of time.

Gronkowski plies his trade better than any NFL tight end in the game right now. For this offense, he clears space for Wes Welker, allows Hernandez room to maneuver and blocks like a third tackle in the running game.

Text Only | Photo Reprints
Sports

Local Sports Videos
Sports Videos
How Will Wiggins Deal Impact Potential Love Trade? Tony Dungy Weighs in on Michael Sam Dareus fails conditioning test, Watkins lifts spirits Clay Travis On Mettenberger Punch & "Dumbest Fanbase" - @TheBuzzeronFOX Bowlsby talks cheating in NCAA Kluwe: How can Tony Dungy advocate felons, not Michael Sam SNC Minute: Phils lose; Lee set to return Eagles less than a week away from training camp Could Cliff Lee's health affect trade value? McCarthy and Stairs break down the Phillies' loss 105-year-old woman throws first pitch McIlroy wins British Open, Tiger finishes 69th Astros, Aiken fail to reach deal Could Rousey beat Mayweather? Can the Panthers replace Steve Smith? Will Bengals sign Dalton to long-term deal? Offseason Report: Biggest Question Marks in the AFC West Ole Miss facing increased expectations Derek Jeter Respect Ad Delivers Larry’s Notebook: Is Jimmie Johnson Behind the Curve?
Boston Sports
How Will Wiggins Deal Impact Potential Love Trade? Tony Dungy Weighs in on Michael Sam Dareus fails conditioning test, Watkins lifts spirits Clay Travis On Mettenberger Punch & "Dumbest Fanbase" - @TheBuzzeronFOX Bowlsby talks cheating in NCAA Kluwe: How can Tony Dungy advocate felons, not Michael Sam Curran: Did the Patriots make a mistake by drafting Garoppolo? McAdam: Yankees pitching troubles bad news for Sox negotiations with Lester Curran: Will Pats struggle to find an identity on offense this season? Perry: Lester impressive again in Sox 6-0 win over the Royals 105-year-old woman throws first pitch McIlroy wins British Open, Tiger finishes 69th Astros, Aiken fail to reach deal Could Rousey beat Mayweather? Can the Panthers replace Steve Smith? Will Bengals sign Dalton to long-term deal? Offseason Report: Biggest Question Marks in the AFC West Ole Miss facing increased expectations Players to watch when training camp opens Bruins 1st round pick David Pastrnak signs entry level contract