Tight end Rob Gronkowski eagerly followed quarterback Tom Brady to Tampa. Now that they’re back together, Brady is paying more attention to his new friends.
Gronk has two catches on the season, for 11 yards. Against the Panthers in Week Two, Gronkowski had no receptions. Brady threw the ball to Gronk only once during the 31-17 win over Carolina.
On Thursday, Brady was asked whether he’s comfortable with where he and Gronk are at together, in the Tampa Bay offense.
“Well, I think we all have a lot of things we’ve got to [work on],” Brady said. “We’re going to be improving from the time we started until the time we finish the season. I don’t think we can be discouraged by certain things. Some weeks it’s going to be some guy’s week. Other weeks it’s going to be other guys’ weeks. Everyone is working hard at practice to try to find their spot [and] their role.
“We’ve got to figure out what works, what combinations work, what we do well or what we don’t do well. That’s just part of the season. You wish everything would be perfect, but that’s just not the reality of football. There are too many things to orchestrate. There are too many moving parts. You’ve just got to figure out ways to win games. It starts with eliminating negative plays, turnovers [and] penalties and putting ourselves in good situations to score points. In the end, it’s got to be scoring more points than the other team. If our defense gives up 40, we’ve got to score more than that. If they only give up three, we’ve got to score more than that. You ebb and flow as the season goes. Some weeks the defense plays better, some weeks the offense plays better [and] some weeks you get contributions on special teams. Either way, we’ve got to figure out how to win the games when the opportunities present themselves to make them happen — we’ve got to be able to do it.”
That’s a lot of words that ultimately say nothing about the lack of balls thrown to Gronkowski. Playing time isn’t an issue; he followed his Week One showing of 77-percent involvement in the offense by being on the field for nearly 70 percent of the snaps in Week Two. However, he’s doing much more blocking than catching.
The explanation ultimately could be a simple. Based on how Gronk moved after catching the ball twice in Week One on three targets, he simply doesn’t look like he used to look as a receiver. The question then becomes whether he’s working toward his overall ceiling — or whether this is as good as it gets.
There’s a chance, frankly, that this is as good as it gets. And if that’s the case, know this: The Buccaneers surely didn’t expect to get a blocking tight end in return for $9 million in salary.