Tight end Rob Gronkowski underwent his fourth surgery on his broken forearm on Monday and based on all of the reports that I have seen, it is expected that he will be fine for the start of the regular season. This is great news for the Patriots. As far as I am concerned, the Patriots will go as far as they want as long as Gronk is healthy. In other words, they go as far as Gronk can healthily take them.
We have seen what has happened to the Patriots in the last two postseasons without a healthy Gronkowski. They first lost to the Giants in the Super Bowl because Gronk had a severely injured ankle, and then last year they got beat down by the Ravens in the AFC Championship game because Gronk was out with a broken forearm.
What Gronkowski brings to the Patriots offense is well documented, he is a super athletic guy that can help in the running game, and obviously in the passing game. His partner in crime Aaron Hernandez is also a very talented player, but they need each other to be 100% effective. That (and they weren’t healthy for the whole year) is why both guys had relative down years in 2012. When Gronk is on the field putting up crazy stats or “Gronking”, Hernandez gets a lot of one on one coverage and that makes the Patriots offense very difficult to cover. With incoming rookie Aaron Dobson and veteran’s Michael Jenkins and Danny Amendola new to the Patriots offense, New England is going to need Gronk more than ever in 2013. Tom Brady no longer has his security blanket Wes Welker, and until he develops a good chemistry with Amendola, I think that Gronk will have to be his new security blanket. That is why it is essential to the Patriots that Gronk is 100% in 2013 for New England. No matter how much their defense improves this year, they will always be leaning on the offense to “run the show” for the team, and they won’t be able to play as well on offense as they have been without Gronkowski on the field and producing. With all of this being said, it appears that Gronk will be ready to go for the opening of the season and because of this, I really don’t see much (other than injuries) that could stop the Patriots from getting to the Super Bowl.
It is obvious that the Patriots were talented enough last year to win during the regular season without Gronk and they probably would be able to do that this year as well. However it is a completely different story in the postseason. Gronkowski is probably the biggest mismatch in the NFL when healthy, and in the playoffs the Patriots really need him to help against the top defenses in the league. No matter how the matchups shake out in the playoffs, in order to get back to the Super Bowl you always have to go through one of the top defenses in the league. That is just how the NFL works. Last year it was the Ravens and the year before that it was the Giants and the Ravens. As we know, the Pats struggled mightily against these teams without a healthy Gronkowski. That is why I am very happy that Gronk’s surgery went well, because he should be ready to play great on the field, and because of that the Patriots should do well in 2013.