New England Patriots Stock Watch: Rob Gronkowski Up, Rob Ninkovich Down
By Cyrus Geller
Here is this week’s New England Patriots stock watch.
Five catches, 94 yards, three touchdowns. The Steelers couldn’t stop Gronk all game long, especially when they elected to simply not cover him. When big number 87 is healthy, the Patriots’ offense is one of the best in the game.
11 catches, 97 yards, another easy day at the office for Edelman.
The Patriots were without their starting center, and one of their starting guards in this one, and at times were playing with three rookies on the interior. And yet, Tom Brady had a clean pocket all night, and they even got a few things going in the running game. Major props to David Andrews, Josh Kline, Tre’ Jackson, and Shaq Mason for a job well done.
One of the biggest storylines of the offseason was which running back would emerge as the top guy for third downs, and it was obvious last night Dion Lewis is that guy. He had 120 total yards, displaying some incredible quickness in the open field, as the Steelers had trouble tackling him all night long.
His early sack of Big Ben was a highlight, as you don’t often see the big quarterback get slung down to the ground like that. Hightower helped shore up the defense as the game went on.
Sheard had to step in because of Dominique Easley’s absence, and he was very effective, drawing a penalty, getting some pressure on Ben, and even snagging a garbage time sack.
A few early penalties plus some missed blocks made up for a rough first half for the big left tackle..
Burned on more than one occasion, Fletcher showed why the Eagles let him go after a horrendous 2014 season. There is a reason why he is the third corner on the depth chart, and I honestly think he might slip down to fourth after this game.
Ninkovich is one of the best in the game at setting the edge versus the run, but last night, for some reason he was off his game. Hopefully he is just knocking off some rust as the season begins.