Bucs’ Bruce Arians Gets Honest About Rob Gronkowski’s Injury

Rob Gronkowski

Getty Rob Gronkowski return from a Week 3 injury lasted almost two drives on Sunday.

Rob Gronkowski’s return to the field for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers lasted two offensive series, and head coach Bruce Arians didn’t like it.

“Gronk probably shouldn’t have played,” Arians told the media after Sunday’s 35-27 loss to the New Orleans Saints. “But he kept begging to get in there and re-injured himself.”

Gronkowski missed four games due to rib injuries and a punctured lung. He practiced during the week though listed as questionable on the injury. The Bucs planned to put him back on the field in a lesser capacity according to Rick Stroud of the Tampa Bay Times.

Bucs quarterback Tom Brady only threw to Gronkowski once in the red zone. The Bucs ruled out Gronkowski for the second half of the game after enduring back spasms according to ESPN’s Jenna Laine.

Back spasms could be a bigger problem for Gronkowski than the average player since he’s “undergone three back surgeries between 2009 and 2016 to fix herniated discs and a fractured vertebrae,” Laine wrote.

Gronkowski started strong this season with 16 receptions, 184 yards, and four touchdowns before the Week 3 injury.

Brady on Bucs Offense Sputtering After Gronkowski Exit

Immediately following Gronkowski’s injury, Brady found Chris Godwin for a 12-yard touchdown for a 7-0 lead in the first quarter. It never looked that good for the Bucs afterward with a fumble and interception by Brady in the first half followed by a pick-six in the fourth quarter.

“Tough to win that way when you turn the ball over like we did, so I’ve got to not throw interceptions,” Brady said after the game.  “That’s the key.”

Brady notably “has seven turnovers versus the Saints since joining the Bucs” per Pro Football Focus.

“Bad throws,” Brady explained.

Brady threw for 375 yards and touchdowns as the Bucs played from behind most of the game due to turnovers. He also took three sacks for 25 yards lost.

Arians said his team will need to “correct the selfish penalties” as the Bucs tallied 11 penalties for 99 yards.

Cyril Grayson Steps Up Late For Bucs

With Gronkowski out and Antonio Brown already sidelined, the Bucs needed other receivers and tight ends to step up besides the usual suspects such as Godwin and Mike Evans.

Wide receiver Cyril Grayson, called up from the practice squad on Saturday, caught a 50-yard touchdown pass from Brady in the fourth quarter to grab a 27-26 lead. Grayson ironically trolled the Saints on Twitter before the game but deleted the tweet.

“Cyril did a great job,” Brady said in the press conference. “Got in there, got behind the defense, gave him a ball he could catch, and he made a great play.”

Grayson played sparingly the week before, appearing in 13 offensive plays against the Chicago Bears. He didn’t have a catch coming into the game.

“They (the Saints) looked like they doubled Mike and doubled Chris and turned him loose,” Arians said about Grayson in the press conference. “Ran a hell of a route, good throw and good catch, and it’s a shame it wasn’t the game winner.”