Tony Gonzalez Talks Targeted Gronkowski Impact

May 5th, 2020

Legendary tight end Tony Gonzalez likes a very specific aspect of new Bucs tight end Rob Gronkowski’s game, one that is foreign to Bucs fans.

Gonzalez told FOX Sports last week that Gronkowski was an “average” regular-season performer for the Patriots in the couple of seasons before he retired, but he was an absolute beast in the playoffs.

“When he got to the playoffs, he came alive,” Gonzalez noted. “And so I think with the players that they have out there in Tampa, they got two studs out there at the tight end position. They got good tight ends, Cameron Brate, I don’t know what they’re going to do with O.J. Howard. He’s not going to have to be the guy. He can be somebody that comes in there, catches 45 to 50 balls; I think that’d be a great season for him. And when the playoffs come, he’s going to get leaned on.”

Gonzalez likes that Gronkowski has lost weight, which Gonzalez says is critical late in a career. And he added that Gronkowski shouldn’t have to be the punishing blocker he was and 1,000 yards receiving won’t be what’s asked of him.

The playoffs angle is interesting. It’s a nice idea to save an all-out Gronk unleashing for the playoffs, but damn, the Bucs have to get there.

How about the Bucs ride Gronk hard, if necessary, and do everything possible to find their way to a powerful start, like 5-2, and then maybe give Gronk a midseason break/recharge?

27 Responses to “Tony Gonzalez Talks Targeted Gronkowski Impact”

  1. Sport Says:

    Nice problem to have. Who would’ve thought we’d be talking about preserving players in May for a SB run!

    Damn this is fun!

    In BA I Trust!

  2. Dano Says:

    Bucs definitely need his run blocking for sure!

  3. Tye Says:

    The Bucs are surely better built this year than they have been in many years past so this should finally be their year to make a strong push in the playoffs…
    They now have a Leader that has won at the highest level multiple times to offer something they have been missing for years….. winning ways!

  4. pick6 Says:

    I think the rest will be more about practice time and snaps per game. Money aside, it wouldn’t Be crazy for him to get the amount of snaps OJ Howard got last year….not the most in that group but enough to change games. Let’s hope he uses those opportunities better than OJ did. I would assume he’s in on 3rd down, goal line, and hurry up

  5. pepsi Says:

    Im still a bit skeptical of a big Gronk impact at this stage of his career. I mean not being relied on for blocking? and being a lot lighter looking? If Gronk is not upgrading our run blocking in a serious way then what are we getting here, just solid hands down the seem? Gonzales himself could come out of retirement and provide that.

  6. REDZONE BA Fan Says:

    Cam is a Beast….Tompa will love Cam – great routes and amazing hands. Cam will be key Tompa target in 2020.

    In contrast, by game 4, OJ will be on Tompa crap-list as TE-target. OJ is picture-perfect STUD TE; but –OJ avoids hits he should plough through given his size for needed yards. OJ will whiff on tough catches in traffic > much to ire of Tompa.

    First 4 games will allow Gronk time to get up to speed in BA offense, watching OJ and Cam, with Gronk playing sparingly, as decoy.

    Key for Gronk > is same as Tompa – lasting the season without an injury due to age.

    Go Bucs – Super Bowl or BUST!

  7. Jean Lafitte Says:

    I don’t think you have to ride him hard. There are a lot of targets to go around. Even though Brady loves his TE’s he should also be aware that he doesn’t have to lean on Gronk like he had to do with the Patriots. Keep him fresh and spread the ball around. We need the Gronk when we DO get in the playoffs.

  8. jjtixs Says:

    Mayb they send GRONK 2 VEGAS like Phil did w/ Rodman for 48hrs!!!!!!!! LOL

  9. Bradybru Says:

    Didn’t O.J. say he wanted off the Bucs, and then got a deal.
    O.J. didn’t get a deal. The Bucs picked up the 5th-year option on his contract, but that’s only guaranteed if he’s on the roster in mid-March of 2021.–Joe

  10. Bucsfanman Says:

    The dude brings toughness to this TE group. I’m not saying OJ and Cam are “soft” BUT, they don’t really intimidate anyone either.
    I just hope that at some point fans will take a minute to look and see the type of players our team is bringing in. It wasn’t that long ago that we had a soft azz team, both mentally and physically. Over the course of a season and some change, things have been a changing ’round here!

  11. Defense Rules Says:

    Still don’t find myself as giddy about the Gronk signing as many seem to. He retired as I remember because he was beaten up & football wasn’t all that much fun anymore. And his last 3 years weren’t nearly as productive as his earlier years.

    So now, Gronk is ‘much older, lighter & having played no football in almost 2 years by the time training camp starts’. And I’m supposed to buy that a TE who cost us a 4th Rnd pick AND oh ya $10 mil is gonna set the world on fire?

    Bucs had a very good TE group with Brate, OJ & Auclair. Yes the group had a down year in 2019, but I still think a big part of that was the new system & how they were used. Gronk may very well be a valuable addition to that group, but I prefer to wait until I see performance on the field … in actual games, not in fantasy football. Superior blocking better be a huge part of the package because he cost us a 4th Rnd player (perhaps a rookie TE?) and probably 2 quality depth players (we’ll call them a better backup QB & a quality RB for kicks) for the $10 mil.

  12. Señor Harry in Costa Rica Says:

    @DR, what is a 4th rd pick to the Bucs? That is nothing. As far as a “good” TE group, I do not see where you can say that. OJ did nothing last year – clearly his worst since being drafted. IMO, all OJ has shown us is “potential”; even his best year where we saw his “potential” it was in glimpses, not in overall numbers like 1,000 yards and X TDs. Auclair was ok for his position on the depth chart, but nothing more. Brate, I love Brate, but he also had a down year – I think he was injured all year.

    Gronk is not what he was, granted. And if some here are expecting the “early years” of Gronk, they will be sorely disappointed. But I am hoping he is the difference maker in 3rd down conversions during the regular season, and maybe critical TDs in the playoffs. So to give up a 4th and some Glazer loot for Gronk is well worth it, IMO

  13. Tampabaybucfan Says:

    Having 3 good TEs means we can share the load/snaps….they should be a strong group throughout the season……I would use Gronk early to get the wins……if you don’t win during the season, you don’t get to the playoffs.

    If having Gronk makes Brady more motivated and comfortable….I’m all in.

  14. Defense Rules Says:

    Senor Harry … Wasn’t Kwon a 4th Rnd pick? Anthony Nelson? Jordan Whitehead? Will Gholston? Luke Stocker? Mike Williams? Or we can go way back with Dexter Jackson & Al Singleton.

    What was the question again? Something about 4th Rnd picks?

  15. Defense Rules Says:

    Senor Harry … Oh and about our TE group being meh, I don’t agree. OJ came onboard in 2017. Our TE group (5 TEs) had 13 TDs that year, 84 catches and 1,124 yards. Then in 2018 our TE group (only 4 TEs) had 11 TDs, 73 catches and 911 yards. But then in 2019 that TE group (back up to 5 TEs on the season) dropped off to only 5 TDs, while still getting 74 catches and 807 yards.

    OJ went from 34 catches in 48 targets (70.8%), 565 yards, 5 TD & 16.6 YPC in 2018 down to 34 catches in 53 targets (64.2%), 459 yards, 1 TD & 13.5 YPC in 2019. Same number of catches but significantly less productivity from them.

    I’m not willing to say at this point that it’s all on OJ. Especially in light of the problems that Jameis had with the new system in 2019 AND in light of the Bucs having a new OC with different ideas of how to use TEs than Koetter had. Let’s wait and see how Tom Brady capitalizes on OJ’s skillset (and Cam Brate’s and Antony Auclair’s) BEFORE we label them all mediocre busts.

  16. TheBradyBunch Says:

    Bradybru – He never said he wanted off the Bucs. Joe posted the article, but the author later retracted the statement when OJ or his agent let the writer know that OJ never said anything of the sort. Joe knows this and it would probably be good if he had pointed that out to your statement above.

  17. Señor Harry in Costa Rica Says:

    @DR, I am not one of the “giddy” fans that is expecting a superstar Gronk. My point is that Gronk is easily worth the 4th rd pick, IMO. I do not see how you can compare Nelson, Whitehead, Gholston and even Kwon to a future HOFer in Gronk. No, I am not expecting “that” Gronk, but I think what he will add to the TE group will be well worth the 4th Rd pick. And, at the very least, I think it is an advantage to give Brady at least one familiar face on the team that is going to be limited in bonding time.

    Also, I stand by what I said about OJ. You cherry pick his best years when he had a coach who LOVED throwing to TEs. IMO, all OJ has shown us is “potential”, not consistency. If OJ were the superstar some fans feel him to be, I believe BA would use him more.

    As I said, I love Brate, but he had an injury filled year in 2019. Is he now ok? Will he be back to his previous output or is was that it? Who knows. It all depends on how one looks at this group. Are we getting all four TEs at their very best (not likely)? Or, in a worst case scenario, are we getting OJ and Brate at their 2019 level and Gronk at his 2018? If that is the case, I am glad we have Gronk. Personally, I expect something in between. Regardless, for a 4th Rd pick, I feel the Bucs are in better position with Gronk.

  18. tickrdr Says:

    @Senor Harry and Defense Rules:

    Kudos and thank you to both of you for your posts!
    It is such a pleasure to read intelligent discussion with two differing opinions, WITHOUT name-calling, racism, outright lies, and hyperbole, and even WITH proper grammar, spelling, and punctuation. I’m pretty sure there are many of us who appreciate that sort of thing. JMHO.


  19. lambchop Says:

    We don’t need Gronk to go full tilt to be 5-2, I’m pretty sure we have enough weapons to get a 5-2 record with Gronk sprinkled in. I would rather save him down the stretch when he comes alive and when other TEs might be injured or banged up.

    One, Two, Three punch. With Brady, there’s not a single TE that a defense can think, “Oh, we don’t have to worry about him.”

  20. Ghost of Darrell Henderson Says:

    Maybe, Gronk shows OJ what a Hall of Fame tight end looks like.

    All this time OJ has been lost, trying to learn the position on Google.

    Rob can just show him how it’s done.

  21. Will Says:

    I’ve gotta agree with Ghost on this one. Last year we saw a clip of Suh working with the Dline and telling Gholston that part of the ability he (Suh) has is partly just a mentality. Gronk may not be the player he was at the start of his career but you can’t say that the mentality and his approach to the game can’t be vital. If our TEs watch and learn from him and continue to improve their game here as Bucs for years to come it’s all worth it. Not to mention the fact that it’s already been pointed out that Gronk is here to be a safety blanket for Brady as well as probably to help the team get use to how Brady does and wants things. I’m not on the superbowl or bust train I’d love for them to play in the superbowl but making the playoffs this year would be great!

  22. Barack's Crack Pipe Says:

    jjtixs Says:
    “Mayb they send GRONK 2 VEGAS like Phil did w/ Rodman for 48hrs!!!!!!!! LOL”

    Then 4 days later, we’d have to send Brady to drag his butt back to Tampa. No thanks!

  23. Swampbuc Says:

    Stop talking playoffs and super bowls and runs. Please. 2019 Cleveland Browns.

  24. TOM Says:

    BA now that you got Gronk now go get Edelman for TB12.

  25. Dan Says:

    Gronk won’t be needed to carry a heavy load with this offense

  26. Señor Harry in Costa Rica Says:

    Hey tickrdr, thank you sir! Yeah, I get tired of the gutless name calling too. So unnecessary.

  27. CalBucsFan Says:

    Gronk will be quite a bit more valuable to the Bucs than between the lines since there’s no one else on the roster that’s teamed with TB before. Matter of fact, he will probably be MORE valuable in practice and the locker room than on the field, especially early on in the season. He’s well worth a 4th round pick, might have end up being a steal at that price.