The Buccaneers will wish they didn’t bring Rob Gronkowski into the Saints game.
Hindsight is always 20/20. Everyone always says, “that was a bad idea,” after the fact, but it seems like the Buccaneers should’ve had this idea before bringing Rob Gronkowski back from injury to play against the Saints.
Gronk didn’t play long in this game and didn’t leave a huge impact, and there is a chance that rushing the star tight end back from an injury too soon could only prolong the current problems.
The Buccaneers must have weighed the benefits of Gronkowski coming back as greater than the potential to re-injure or to make things worse, but that is what the situation is quickly becoming if last night was any indication. The six snaps that Gronk played against the Saints inspired little confidence in his health, and the subsequent back spasms show the decision by the Bucs could only make things worse.
While it’s easy to speak with the benefit of hindsight, this was never the game to rush Gronk back. The offense hasn’t been the problem with this roster. The Bucs moved the ball well against almost everyone, and Tom Brady’s offensive potency didn’t drop off when Gronk left the field.
O.J. Howard and Cameron Brate have played well in Gronkowski’s absence, and when the offense didn’t work, it never felt like it was just because of one missing tight end. Gronk did have a red zone target last night before he left the game, but his lack of playing time after that didn’t slow Brady down en route to throwing for four touchdowns.
Gronk wasn’t the missing piece, and this game wasn’t the one to rush him back for. Now, the offense could be without their TE1 for an even longer period of time, and the loss to the Saints only adds insult to injury. Literally.
Hopefully, Rob Gronkowski can make a speedy recovery and get back in time for the Buccaneers to make a compelling playoff push.
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