Originally written November 19, 2012 on Larry Brown Sports:
New-england-patriots-new
The New England Patriots may have put a whooping on the Indianapolis Colts on Sunday, but they lost their second-most important offensive player in the process. Aside from Tom Brady, no player is more crucial to New England’s success on offense than Rob Gronkowski. Now that Gronk is expected to miss at least four weeks with a broken forearm, the Patriots will need to make some major adjustments. The stats speak for themselves. Gronkowski has hauled in 53 passes for 748 yards and a league-leading 10 touchdowns. But that doesn’t tell the entire story. Gronkowski is Brady’s favorite safety valve. Third down used to belong to Wes Welker, but now Brady seems to always look for his big tight end when the Patriots need to move the chains. Then, there’s the revitalized running game. Because of his importance in the passing game, Gronkowski is a tremendously underrated run blocker. The Patriots rank fifth in the NFL with 142.9 rushing yards per game. Much of that success is owed to the emerg...
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