New England Patriots star tight end Rob Gronkowski was already a very important member of this team, but the league’s best TE’s importance has likely risen over the past couple of days. The victory over the Buffalo Bills showed that the Patriots young receivers still have plenty of work to do, and I know I placed unrealistic expectations on how quickly Kenbrell Thompkins would get things down. A bigger reason why Gronkowski’s importance has likely grown is the fact that current starter Zach Sudfeld suffered a hamstring injury. He did practice on a limited basis yesterday and the injury seems to be minor, but the only other healthy TE on the roster right now is Michael Hoomanawanui.
That said, Rob Gronkowski needs the rest, and throwing him into the fire just isn’t a good idea yet. I still think he isn’t ready and needs the rest, but that’s obviously a call the Patriots are in better position to make. According to a source close to the Boston Herald’s Karen Guregian, Gronkowski is “unlikely” to play against the New York Jets on Thursday.
This news doesn’t come as a surprise, and I hope nobody expects Gronkowski to suit up on Thursday. While he would undoubtedly help this team significantly, the Patriots need to be looking out for Gronkowski long-term and are best off giving him another week off. They might be forced to play him if Sudfeld’s injury is that bad, but I don’t think we’re at that point.