Originally written on NESN.com  |  Last updated 11/9/14
Carolina_panthers_v_5a8c
If you’re one of the many Patriots fans playing Monday Morning Coach, and questioning Bill Belichick‘s decision to include Rob Gronkowski and other starting players on special teams, you’re rooting for the wrong head coach. Belichick, above maybe all other head coaches, values special teams like it’s any other part of the game. Since Gronkowski is one of the best blockers on the team, he was in on field goals and extra points and he’ll continue to be. Gronkowski is hardly the only starter to play on special teams. Danny Woodhead, Devin McCourty and Kyle Arrington all play a major role in the Patriots’ kicking and punting game. Julian Edelman is a fringe starter at this point, and he plays an even greater role in the kicking game. While reserves like Matthew Slater, Nate Ebner, Niko Koutouvides and Jeff Tarpinian play the biggest roles in the Patriots’ special teams, those reserve players can’t be the only ones if you want to have a successful unit. Obviously, on an NFL squad, your starters are the most talented players on the roster. If those players can star on offense or defense, they’ll likely do the same in the kicking game. There’s a reason why the Patriots are second in the NFL in yards per punt return. There’s a reason why New England has punted the fewest times in the league (34), yet has the sixth most punts downed inside the twenty yard line (20). It’s because Belichick sees there’s value there, and he uses the best men for the job. One of the best decisions Belichick made this year was to move McCourty to kick return duties. Sure, he coughed up a return and nearly lost the Jets game for the Patriots, but he also ran a return back for a touchdown in the same game. His returns have been a major improvement over Woodhead, Edelman and Slater’s from last season. New England averaged 21.4 yards per return last season, McCourty is up to 25.7 this year. There’s also something very team-oriented about having star players relegated to special teams duties. Gronk may be on magazine covers and television commercials, but he’s still out there grinding with the rest of the team blocking on an extra point. Isn’t Boston all about these scrappy, hard-working athletes? Or do they have to be under 5-foot-10? Obviously, the more a player is out on the field, the more prone to injuries he’ll be, but when was the last time you heard of a player getting injured on an extra point? It doesn’t happen very often. In a worst case scenario, it happened to Gronk and he’ll be out for 4-6 weeks, in plenty of time to help the Patriots in the playoffs. And that includes helping on special teams.
GET THE YARDBARKER APP:
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

Report: Tim Tebow agrees to terms with Eagles

Report: Tyreke Evans a game-time decision for Game 2

Phillies GM: Asking price for Cole Hamels has not dropped

Could Ohio State really use all three quarterbacks?

Report: Florida CB arrested following armed robbery

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

Celtics looking to make LeBron's life difficult in playoff series

WATCH: Luke Rockhold chokes out Lyoto Machida

WATCH: Masai Ujiri fires up Raptors fans with expletive

Andre Johnson: Signing with Colts not about revenge

Pete Rose joining FOX as baseball analyst

Josh Hamilton filed for divorce around time of relapse

WATCH: Royals-A's game filled with more ejections

WATCH: David Ortiz ejected for arguing over check swing

WATCH: The trailer for the new Allen Iverson documentary

WATCH: Jon Lester flips glove to first for out

Scout compares Mookie Betts to Deion Sanders

WATCH: Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. tells his corner to stop fight

Mets pitcher Alex Torres wears massive protective hat

Report: Todd Gurley's knee checks out well in evaluation

WATCH: All 286 3-pointers Steph Curry made this season

WATCH: Devan Dubnyk makes great save while leaving net

Sabres GM not happy about losing draft lottery

Yordano Ventura ejected for plunking Brett Lawrie

NFL News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.
the YARDBARKER app
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

Royals-A's game gets heated again

Report: Tim Tebow signing with Eagles

David Ortiz ejected, throws tantrum

WATCH: Allen Iverson's documentary trailer

Alex Torres wears protective hat

Josh Hamilton filed for divorce from wife

Report: McHenry's coworkers want her fired

WATCH: Raptors fans taunt Paul Pierce

Five things to watch in NBA Playoffs

Jarret Stoll busted for drugs

CJ Wilson: Hamilton is 'ready to go'

Leaked Clippers jersey redesigns

Today's Best Stuff
For Bloggers

Join the Yardbarker Network for more promotion, traffic, and money.

Company Info
Help
What is Yardbarker?

Yardbarker is the largest network of sports blogs and pro athlete blogs on the web. This site is the hub of the Yardbarker Network, where our editors and algorithms curate the best sports content from our network and beyond.