“A Whole Different Animal”

May 6th, 2020

New Bucs tight end Rob Gronkowski is part of a unique review

A two-time All-Pro tight end with two Super Bowl rings has very strong opinions on the state of today’s tight ends.

If you’re a NFL fan under 40, you probably never watched Mark Bavaro dominate for the mighty Giants of the late 1980s.

Blocking, receiving and nasty, Bavaro was a smaller Rob Gronkowski whose career quickly was derailed by injuries. Bill Belichick has talked about how Bavaro blocking legendary Lawrence Taylor in practice was one of the great eye-opening experiences of his career.

Bavaro talked to WEEI sports radio in Boston recently and broke down the state of the tight end position.

“I don’t disrespect any of these great tight ends in the past, but I try to make the distinction between a receiving tight end and an all-around tight end,” Bavaro said. “You know, in my book, [Travis] Kelce is a great player but he is a receiver. I don’t consider him a tight end. Same with [Tony] Gonzalez. Same with [Antonio] Gates….  [Ozzie] Newsome. Kellen Winslow, the dad. To me, the best tight end in the game right now is George Kittle, without question. I would have made the argument even last year that he was the best complete all-around tight end. Just watch the guy. He’s really a joy to watch. He’s more like kind of the way I played, maybe a little better.

“But Gronkowski is a whole different animal than any of them, right, just by sheer physicality. The guy’s 6-foot-7, his reach is unbelievable. …[His] weight is irrelevant. He doesn’t even have to run a route. He just needs to turn around and a guy like Brady can get the ball to a place no one else can touch it but Gronk. And he’s just a special physical type of player, just from sheer size. And he’s a great blocker and I definitely put him in the all-around category. I do make distinctions between receiving tight ends and all-around tight ends and Gronk is up there with the best of the best.”

It’s too often overlooked how Gronkowski is (was?) a punishing blocker. The physical toll of that is a big part of what drove him to retire.

Tony Gonzalez says Gronk should keep his weight down and transition away from the endless blocking grind so he can be a monster in the playoffs.

It will be interesting to see how the Bucs use Gronk. Bucco Bruce Arians is playing for right now, not trying to preserve Gronk, who may want out of football again eight months.

20 Responses to ““A Whole Different Animal””

  1. BigHog Says:

    Was is the most important word here ….can he be the same GRONK after a 30lb drop in weight, no is my answer…can he be used in the passing game …yes but the mystery is will he be any good after the catch …that is the $264 question that we gave 10m to find out, what a gamble! As far as pass catching tight ends vs all around tight ends ….you get what your offense needs, what your offense will show case. For me John Mackey is my pick and I’m guessing he would fall into the pass catching tight ends…hopefully Gronk can bring a new intensity to the tight end group! ….sticking to the subject, my new motto!

  2. Youngbucs Says:

    Half of gronk is still our best TE but that’s just my opinion.

  3. Blah Says:


  4. Joeypoppems Says:


    Gronk said during his press conference that he needed to add 10lbs to hit 260. Dont know where you came up with a 30lb weight cut. I doubt he was playing at 290lbs lol.

  5. pick6 Says:

    that physicality is what has worn down his body so fast. let’s hope he’s willing to do those same things the same way after giving his body time to recover….and Brate\OJ are essential because that punishing style is also why you can book him to miss 2-6 regular season games

  6. TheBucsAnthem Says:

    Just evolution of the game…..

    Same as he “H-Back”

    Will we ever seen another “Alstott” type a player ever in the NFL????

    Probably not or never again…..hell, his style of play is outlawed by coaches now trying to “Preserve” players

    Hell……even his “neck roll” is outlawed now

  7. 74 Bucs Fan Says:

    Hey Joe – see if you can get a picture of OJ’s eyes when he see’s Gronk blast somebody in practice. That should be priceless.

  8. AlabamaBucsFan Says:

    I didn’t realize Gronkowski was 6’7″. Jesus, there not too many LB or Safeties that can cover him. As the article said, he just needs to turn around and reach for the ball. Can’t wait to see #12 throw to him. Let the Games Begin!

  9. Alaskan Abdominal Snowman Says:

    He made a good point about Gronk not even needing to run a route or be open. Brady just throws it to where the defender isn’t and Gronk uses his length to body the defender.
    I’ve been watching some more recent Brady to see what we are getting ourselves into. One of my favorite things about his game is his understanding of leverage and body positioning. Brady will throw to a blanketed target and your like wth, then the receiver catches it because the defender never turned his back. Brady is so savvy and slick when it comes to ball placement and throw timing.
    This should match up so freaking well with Godwin and especially Mike Evans on back shoulder throws and go routes.

  10. TheBucsAnthem Says:

    ha ha ha…….how do you not know Gronk wasn’t that tall?????

    The Patriots only went to the Playoffs for a gazabillions times!!!!

    Gronk makes the other NFL players around him look like little boys (except for the O & D Linemen)

  11. View from 132 Says:

    Gronk shouldn’t even put on pad until Week 9. We have two competent TEs, and its all about the playoffs in terms of why he is here.

  12. WestChap Says:

    I hope some Gronk pixie dust can rub off on OJ as he’s got the physical traits (6’6” and 240+ lbs) to follow in the Gronk one’s footsteps. Just so many story lines about these Bucs for 2020… we need a break in/from the sickness!

  13. Cainishere Says:

    Hi Guys! Nice posts. All of Tampa Bay’s TE group looks great. Few things to recognize here. Firstly. Gronk will not have to be the old Gronk. Now he will be used as more of a finesse TE. Now he can use his head rather than his body to get the job done. Secondly. The upgrade from Winsnone to Brady on a level of skill is astronomically huge in both ability and complexity. Now defenses will not only have to contend with the physicality of the Buccaneers but now the high intelligence of the Buccaneers will beat many a team with very little effort. Keep in mind this TE crew will probably be used to seriously put defenses at disadvantage creating major confusions and mismatches with in them. It is hard for a DC to contend with a team that has as many weapons as the Buccaneers do. GO BUCS!!!!

  14. ItzOK Says:

    Hope he can stay healthy to play a full season. If ever Load management was needed in the NFL it is with Gronk. Pick your spots with him and don’t wear him out by week 10.

  15. teacherman777 Says:

    We have Gronk and Tom Brady!!

    But we still have Cappa (stone foot) at RG. 🤦🏻‍♂️

  16. Buczilla Says:

    Bavaro was a tough dude and one of my favorite players growing up. I remember Ronnie Lott laying his a$$ out once and he just gets up like nothing happened. Mean mofo.

  17. Anonymous Says:

    I am going to start calling you Debbie Joe you seem the find the worst outcomes on any and all issues, and if i were the BUCS i would not let you anywhere around the team or the building

  18. SB Says:

    I remember that as well Buczilla!

  19. SB Says:

    TheBucsAnthem Says:
    May 6th, 2020 at 12:50 pm
    Just evolution of the game…..

    Same as he “H-Back”

    Will we ever seen another “Alstott” type a player ever in the NFL????

    Probably not or never again…..hell, his style of play is outlawed by coaches now trying to “Preserve” players

    Hell……even his “neck roll” is outlawed now


    REAL Flipping point right here.

  20. unbelievable Says:

    Well if last year was any indication, he’ll be doing a ton of blocking as that seems to be the only thing Arians knows how to do with his tight ends.

    However I do expect (and really hope) that Brady changes that.