The New England Patriots haven’t updated the status of star tight end Rob Gronkowski, and we obviously aren’t going to anticipate the Patriots sharing anything regarding Gronkowski’s progression from arm and back surgeries. Gronk is a prime candidate for the reserve/PUP list and is currently on the active/PUP list, and placement on the former at the end of training camp will cause Gronkowski to have to miss the first six weeks of the regular season. That would seem to give Daniel Fells and Jake Ballard (two guys on the roster bubble) guaranteed gigs as a result, and it is probably the best thing for Gronk long-term.
Boston Globe beat writer Ben Volin shares some interesting thoughts regarding Rob Gronkowski, and he writes that the Patriots should and will likely place Gronkowski on the PUP list to start the regular season. I agree with that and would also use the word he did, “prudent”, because Gronkowski’s long-term health is the most important thing. Beyond that, it’s better for the Patriots to have Gronk back for the home stretch of the season and the postseason than the beginning of the regular season. He’ll miss a tough game against the Atlanta Falcons, but the Pats can honestly manage without Gronk. With better depth at receiver and even tight end (Zach Sudfeld is legit and could shine during Gronk’s absence), the Patriots are much better equipped to handle time without Gronkowski than they were last season.
Volin also writes that Gronkowski has spent most of his time in street clothes, and that means he hasn’t been rehabbing yet, per Rotoworld. According to Rotoworld, this means that Gronkowski is indeed likely headed for the PUP, and that really seems to be the best plan for the Patriots. Gronk still isn’t at that point yet in his recovery, and it is all about easing him in and thinking about the long term. According to Volin, the Patriots won’t allow Gronkowski to talk to the media until he has been activated from the PUP.
New England Patriots backup safety Tavon Wilson is in the second year of his career, and he impressed me when he was on the field last season by showing plenty of flashes. A solid tackler who is intelligent and capable of covering tight ends, I’ve praised Wilson numerous times in this space and view him as the Patriots best option as a third safety (unless if Duron Harmon can put together a really impressive camp and convince me, which he is somewhat on his way to doing thus far). Wilson, however, hasn’t looked good in camp, and this is something I’ve read from just about every outlet. He’s lost out on a lot of reps in training camp, and he’s playing behind of Harmon and even Steve Gregory, who really should be released after a poor season last year (he’s also notably older and more expensive than the other safeties).
According to Ben Volin in an excellent piece on the Globe, Tavon Wilson has been disappointing thus far in training camp, and he even went as far to say that Wilson has been “mostly invisible”. Ouch. For the record, Volin believes that Wilson will “likely” make the team, and I would be surprised if last year’s second-round pick is cut, because the Illinois product had a high draft slot (under circumstances almost as controversial as Harmon’s) and a promising rookie season. Wilson’s roster spot is still safe, but it is far from guaranteed.