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Posts tagged with "Gronkowski"

The Patriots have been battling with injuries they didn’t have to face in 2016.

Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images

1. In 2016, the Patriots finished the season with just three players on the injured reserve: LB Jonathan Freeny (shoulders), TE Rob Gronkowski (back), and TE Greg Scruggs (knee). Two other players were on the PUP list and did not play all season: OG Tre Jackson (knee) and OT Sebastian Vollmer (everything).

This year, the Patriots are in much worse shape. WR Julian Edelman (ACL), CB Cyrus Jones(ACL), EDGE Derek Rivers (ACL), EDGE Caleb Kidder, and TE Matt Lengel were all placed on the injured reserve prior to the start of the season and cannot return this year, while EDGE Shea McClellin, WR Malcolm Mitchell, and DT Vincent Valentine were placed on the injured reserve after week 1 and are eligible to return.

This does not include the non-football injury players in EDGE Keionta Davis, OG Chase Farris, OT Antonio Garcia, and OT Andrew Jelks.

The Patriots are able to bring two players back from the injured reserve this year, so two of McClellin, Mitchell, and Valentine will return based upon team need. My guess would be on the first two.

2. As MassLive’s Kevin Duffy highlighted, the Patriots have made eight draft selections in the first four rounds of the past two drafts. Just two remain on the Patriots active roster in 2016 third round OG Joe Thuney and 2017 EDGE Deatrich Wise.

2016 2nd round CB Cyrus Jones is out for the year with a torn ACL, 2016 third round QB Jacoby Brissett is now with the Indianapolis Colts, and 2016 third round DT Vincent Valentine and 2016 fourth round WR Malcolm Mitchell are on the injured reserve with knee injuries. 2017 third round EDGE Derek Rivers tore his ACL in camp, while 2017 third round OT Tony Garcia wasn’t able to participate due to his limitations.

The Patriots really need to figure out what went wrong with all of these injuries and if they can fix the problem moving forward. It’s hard to blame all of this on the turf.

3. The Herald’s Jeff Howe did a nice job highlighting why Rob Gronkowski wants to play so badly against the Texans. The Patriots and Gronkowski added new incentives into the tight end’s contract and he’s not on pace to reach the highest level at this point in time- and missing any more time could cost him the second-tier of incentives.

Gronkowski has the opportunity to produce in the Patriots offense and it would be fantastic if he could provide the same offense every week that he did against the New Orleans Saints, but he can’t do that from the sideline.

4. RB Dion Lewis and RB James White join Gronkowski as offensive players with playing time incentives, while LB Dont’a Hightower, DT Lawrence Guy, DT Alan Branch, SS Patrick Chung, FS Duron Harmon, and LB David Harris all have playing time incentives on defense. The Patriots aren’t the type of team to sit players for the sake of reducing their annual earnings, but that’s certainly something that the players are thinking about.

Lewis, Branch, and Harris are three players that aren’t seeing the necessary playing time to come close to their incentives because there are better (and younger and cheaper) alternatives on the roster. Hopefully Branch can find his 2015-16 form and regain his role, but Lewis and Harris are unlikely to see the needed time without more injuries.

The other players are on the bubble of reaching their incentives and need to keep playing at a high level to achieve them.

5. The Patriots have intentionally brought players back from injury at a slower rate than their competitors because they would rather them be as close to 100% as possible. New England is able to do that because the Patriots have done such a strong job of building the depth of the roster- and part of building this depth is giving younger players an opportunity to play early in the regular season, as an extension of sorts for the preseason.

Don’t be surprised if a lot of the players that were listed as limited on the injury report this week are eased back on the field to give younger players an opportunity.

6. I spoke with Kenneth Levy of to see if there were any Texans that the Patriots might be able to acquire in the middle of the season as reinforcements.

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As Rob Gronkowski and Dwayne Allen got behind the wheel Friday night, two others took a backseat.

Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

If Friday night at Ford Field was indeed a dress rehearsal, the New England Patriots’ third tight end still stands offstage.

Perhaps that’s where James O’Shaughnessy and Jacob Hollister will stay as the 90-man roster is trimmed to 53 on Sept. 2. Perhaps thinking the Patriots would reserve active spots behind Rob Gronkowski and Dwayne Allen was more expectation than reality, given the tackle-eligible blockers, the versatile usage of the fullback, and the array of skill-position players worthy of handling the football.

There’s only room for so many behind the curtain. At tight end, there may just be two.

Over the first couple weeks of preseason action, Gronkowski and Allen entered into a game apiece, combined to play 31 snaps, and saw zero passes sent their respective directions. That was about what you’d expect from the team’s top duo, if not more. They blocked and seldom ran. But there was no shortage of run for neither four-time All-Pro nor the ex-Indianapolis Colt as the 7 p.m. ET kickoff got underway against the Detroit Lions.

Gronkowski drew the start, Allen was in alongside him by the second snap, and there they mostly remained up until the 8:56 mark in the third quarter when wholesale substitutions were made.

By then, Gronkowski had even reeled in his first preseason catch in five years. It arrived courtesy of Tom Brady.

That comes with the territory of the third exhibition. It is considered as the regular season’s dry run for a reason. Maybe it’s overanalyzed, maybe it’s not. The fact that James Develin split wide well before O’Shaughnessy or Hollister did, however, leaves cause to question just how large the latter loom in the Patriots’ plans moving forward.

O’Shaughnessy, who broke into the league as a Kansas City Chiefs fifth-round pick back in 2015, was sent to the Patriots along with a sixth-round pick this spring for a fifth-rounder. Around which time the organization signed Hollister as an undrafted rookie out of Wyoming.

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One of the most important players for the New England Patriots this coming season will be tight end, Dwayne Allen. However, he didn’t get off to the start he liked with the team this spring.

Shortly after the New England Patriots won their fifth Super Bowl, they were right back out there for spring practices. With some new faces, the Patriots were beginning their preparations to attempt to repeat as champions.

As one of the key offseason acquisitions, a lot of eyes were on former Indianapolis Colts tight end, Dwayne Allen. Unfortunately for Allen, he did not appear to be ready for spring practices. His struggles become a cause of concern in New England, and he knew that he would have to be better.

Fortunately for Allen and Patriots, spring practices mean that there is time to improve before training camp. So far, it looks like Allen has worked extra hard, and is playing up to his capabilities.

“Spring was horrible,” he told Mike Reiss of “It’s one of those things where you have an offseason where you’re training, you’re doing well, you’re thinking that you’ve trained and prepared enough, and then you come into OTAs and it’s like, ‘Oh my goodness, I have not trained enough.”

With the Colts, Allen was a good tight end. In five seasons, Allen totaled 126 receptions, 1,451 receiving yards, and 19 touchdowns. While Allen might not be a starting caliber tight end, he is certainly a very good second option.

Due to the loss of Martellus Bennett in free agency, the Patriots will need Allen to be a reliable tight end. In the Patriots’ offense, they like to utilize two tight end formations frequently. Also, Rob Gronkowski is coming off an injury-plagued season. While he is healthy now, there are some concerns about his durability.

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A little different personality from Rob.”

Glenn Gronkowski in the Patriots-Jaguars preseason game.
Glenn Gronkowski in the Patriots-Jaguars preseason game. –AP Photo/Mary Schwalm

While he doesn’t grab as many headlines – or touchdowns – as his older brother, Glenn Gronkowski has nonetheless earned praise from Bill Belichick since first joining the Patriots in October of 2016.

Aside from being the younger sibling of one of the team’s dynamic players, the 24-year-old has also notably been cut and re-signed to the Patriots’ practice squad three times before signing (and remaining) last December. He earned a Super Bowl LI ring and was signed to a futures contract in February.

And his consistent work rate recently drew compliments from Belichick during a Monday press conference:

Yeah, hard-working kid, quiet, a little different personality from Rob [Gronkowski] around here, but he just comes in every day, works hard, runs well, has played for us in the kicking game, some as a pass receiver, some as a fullback, so he has a little combination skills there. Just trying to develop kind of that role for himself, but he’s a hard-working kid that’s improved. He was kind of on and off the practice squad roster last year for the last, I don’t know, I forget how many weeks it was – eight weeks, whatever the time frame was – but this year has obviously been a lot more consistent, as you said, through the offseason program, through OTAs and through training camp. But he’s been durable, hasn’t missed a day, hasn’t missed anything. Just continues to work hard and get better.

Gronkowski went undrafted as a rookie in 2016. He made the Bills’ opening day roster before he was eventually released, winding up in New England.

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