New England Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski (87) reacts after his touchdown against the Indianapolis Colts during the first quarter at Gillette Stadium. The Patriots defeated the Indianapolis Colts 59-24. Mandatory Credit: David Butler II-USA TODAY Sports

Rob Gronkowski listed doubtful

The New England Patriots have listed star tight end Rob Gronkowski as doubtful for tomorrow’s game against the Buffalo Bills, and the fact that they have not simply ruled out Gronkowski shows that the Patriots are trying to sap out every strategic advantage possible against the Bills. They want to make Doug Marrone and the Bills be under the impression that there is even a very slim chance of a difference-maker playing on Sunday, and the Patriots always want to make the other team have to gameplan for an injured player.

But the doubtful tag shows that it is just about impossible to see Rob Gronkowski suiting up and playing tomorrow, and it would be a bad decision for the Patriots to play Gronk against the Bills. Not only is this an opponent that the Patriots can feel comfortable about benching Gronk against, but Gronk just doesn’t seem ready to play right now. There are still rumblings of him playing in Week 2 on a short week against the rival New York Jets, but even that looks like a stretch.

Make no mistake, Gronkowski has been progressing extremely well from offseason back and arm surgeries, and the Patriots seem confident in his health. At the same time, though, it just isn’t worth it to rush back a star player, and there are reportedly still some concerns from the Patriots organization regarding Gronkowski’s health long-term. Gronk should be fine, but the Patriots are best off saving him for Week 3 at the earliest.

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