For three years, Aaron Hernandez and Rob Gronkowski terrorized opposing defense. They both would eat up single coverage, and when one was doubled, the other would go off. But last year saw the reign of the ‘Boston TE Party’ come to a close. Hernandez is in jail, and Gronkowski just couldn’t stay healthy. The Pats offense struggled at times without a legit tight end threat, which is why I guarantee they will attempt to fix this group in this offseason.
According to all reports, Gronkowski should be ready for the start of the 2014 season. The key word is “should”, because we all know that complications arise, and New England may end up without their big tight end for some portion of 2014. But assuming Gronk comes back healthy, I think we will see a new ‘Boston TE Party’ form in New England. If the Pats can select Jace Amaro in the upcoming draft, they will have another dynamic tight end duo on their hands.
We all know what Gronkowski brings to the table. He is big, strong, athletic, has great hands, and can block. When you combine him with Amaro, who is also a big guy with athleticism, Tom Brady will find himself with numbers resembling his 2012 campaign. I am not saying that Amaro will immediately produce like Hernandez did, because he was a special talent. But I watched a lot of Amaro in college, and he has the skills to become a poor man’s Jimmy Graham. Defenses won’t be able to double him and Gronkowski, which will allow one of them to work one on one with a linebacker, and that is a win for the offense every single time. He is too fast for linebackers, too big for safeties, and his hands are better than people give him credit for. Amaro does struggle in blocking (that’s why I related him to Graham), but for now, I think that is something the Pats are willing to deal with. Gronkowski is the best in the business in terms of run blocking tight ends, and if the Pats choose to re-sign Michael Hoomanawanui, they will have two of the best run blocking tight ends in the league. Amaro’s receiving skills are good enough to overcome his weak blocking, but it is something that Amaro would have to work on, if he was brought into Foxboro.
The Patriots’ offense was good in 2013. All things considered, Tom Brady held the group together, and finished with a decent rate of production. But the lack of tight end presence between the hashes really hurt them, and I think Belichick and the front office will do their best to bring the tight end position back to prominence in New England, the best way to do that is adding Jace Amaro to the roster.