What Impact Would Gronkowski Have on 2019 Patriots Offense?

Rob Gronkowski NFL retirement reaction

Getty Rob Gronkowski

At times this season, the New England Patriots have looked lost offensively. Against the Philadelphia Eagles, New England struggled to capitalize on good field position due to a combination of poor decision making, bad blocking, and failed execution.

It hasn’t been more apparent until now this season that without Rob Gronkowski in the lineup, especially in the running game, the Patriots lack that dynamic dimension to push them over the edge.

Gronkowski revealed his big announcement on Tuesday morning and it was not about his return to the NFL this season. While he left the window open for his return to football next season, Gronk will likely not be wearing a Patriots uniform in 2019.

One of Gronkowski’s biggest strengths was his run-blocking and ability to hold off pass-rushers giving Tom Brady more time to throw and Patriots’ running backs a better chance to hit gaps for bigger gains.

If he were to unretire, it would undoubtedly have a trickle-down effect on the rest of the offense, both on the stat sheets in the vital final weeks of the season ahead. Here’s what to expect with Gronkowski in the lineup down the stretch.

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Gronkowski’s Production

Gronk would definitely make an impact in the receiving game upon his return to the lineup. His route running could be smoother given he is fully healthy and a little lighter than he was at his peak playing weight.

Depending on how the offensive line is holding up, the Patriots could use Gronkowski in more of a blocking role as compared to a receiving role. But that’s no different from when he was playing on the team before.

Patriots Running Backs

Sony Michel hasn’t had much room to run this year but his best games have come with a full arsenal of healthy tight ends available. On Sunday against the Eagles, the Patriots trended towards a pass-heavy offense yet again given their inability to get the wheels turning on the ground.

But with Gronkowski in the game, Michel, James White, and Rex Burkhead would each have a chance to play freely. It isn’t a coincidence that the trio has all experienced diminishing numbers without a Gronk-like presence helping to block and draw defenders.

Although we’ve yet to really see what Isaiah Wynn can do to help the Patriots ground attack, Gronk would add value to all three of the Patriots’ top running backs.

Tom Brady and the Patriots Receivers

Brady has had a relatively strong season by most standards, especially given his age and overall lack of mobility. But with Gronkowski back in the fold, he would get added protection and an additional receiver over the middle.

With Gronk drawing defenders in coverage, that in turn would help other receivers get open looks or more one-on-one coverage down the sidelines. Gronk could also help draw mismatches for himself or the other receivers. This could definitely help N’Keal Harry get his feet wet with his routes while giving Julian Edelman and Mohamed Sanu a little more freedom on routes.

While Gronkowski himself probably wouldn’t get a ton of open looks, his presence would have the potential to make the rest of the offense even better.

READ NEXT: Rob Gronkowski Reveals His “Big Announcement”

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