Well, it’s official. New England Patriots star tight end Rob Gronkowski will miss a second straight game.
After participating on a limited basis in practice all week and being listed as questionable on the injury report Friday, Rob Gronkowski will sit out against the Miami Dolphins this afternoon, according to Adam Schefter’s sources. Here are some ripple effects of the news:
Ripple Effect: Martellus Bennett will be on the field for nearly every snap
As was noted in our weekly snap counts analysis, Bennett was on the field for 97 percent of offensive snaps against the Arizona Cardinals. In that action, Bennett was solid, sealing the edge in the running game and getting open on three occasions for Jimmy Garoppolo.
However, Bennett only posted 14 yards on those three catches. The Patriots will hope that in his Patriots home debut, Bennett puts up at least 50, 60 yards to substitute Gronk’s production.
Ripple Effect: A.J. Derby will see more action
Derby was the only other tight end featured in Week 1, and he was on the field for 28 percent of offensive snaps for the Pats. However, he didn’t not register his first career reception.
The darling of the preseason, Derby is in good standing to see some passes thrown his way as the Dolphins focus their attention on Bennett.
Ripple Effect: Clay Harbor should play
After sitting out Week 1 as a healthy scratch, Harbor will most likely suit up for Week 2. It would be pretty surprising if the Patriots sat the veteran for a second straight week, or else they would have been better off cutting the former Jacksonville Jaguars tight end.
Expect to see Harbor more involved in blocking than in obvious passing situations.
Ripple Effect: Injuries are already dominating 2016 storylines
Zooming out from the immediate ripple effects of Gronk’s absence in Week 2, there is a trend developing already for the 2016 Patriots: injuries. In addition to Gronk, the Patriots will likely be without the control center of their defense, linebacker Dont’a Hightower, against the Dolphins.
On the bright side, the Patriots proved in Week 1 that they are incredibly deep and can win without Tom Brady and Gronk. It sure is weird watching Patriots games without those two leading the offense, but at least Jimmy G has still got dependable pass catchers Danny Amendola and Julian Edelman at his disposal.