Gronk, The O-Line And Arians

June 2nd, 2020

No NFL coach Joe can think of in recent history has had a team stocked with tight ends like Bucs coach Bucco Bruce Arians has.

The thing is, Arians doesn’t use tight ends much.

Now one could argue Arians has never had decent tight ends before coming to Tampa, with the possible exception of Heath Miller in Pittsburgh, one of the few tight ends Arians would feature.

So last year, Arians had Cam Brate, who had been nothing short of a touchdown machine, and world-class-talented O.J. Howard to work with. Instead, Arians rarely used Brate, not even when both Mike Evans and Chris Godwin went down late in the season.

Howard? Arians tried to turn him into a blocking tight end, with mixed results at best.

So now with the Bucs trading for future Hall of Fame tight end Rob Gronkowski, the Bucs are filthy rich at the position.

But will Arians use them? That’s the point of discussion by Adam Rank of

Another new face to know: Rob Freaking Gronkowski. I don’t ever remember in my life seeing a rumor suddenly surface and immediately come true in the way that Gronk is interested in returning to football and playing with Tom Brady in Tampa Bay did. I mean, dudes were still tweeting “Believe it when I see it” when the deal was finalized, giving Cold Takes Exposed some instant material. It’s remarkable. I wish all trades could happen that quickly.

And yes, Arians has never had a prolific tight end during his coaching career. He also has never had a player like Gronk who can get up the seam like the best wide receivers. What I’m excited to see is how Arians uses Gronk as a blocker, because that has long been the more underappreciated part of the tight end’s game.

Joe is basically waiting to see if Arians indeed uses Gronk, or Howard or Brate as a major weapon in the passing game. He may not have a choice, as park-violating, home-invading quarterback Tom Brady may throw to Gronk/Howard/Brate regardless of what Arians wants to do.

Joe guesses Brady will have just about full autonomy in the offense.

If by chance Brady has to tow a company line, Joe suspects Gronk will be used more as a blocker, similar to Howard last year. Think about it, put Gronk next to rookie Tristan Wirfs on the right side; that has the potential to be massive.

Besides, who would you trust to help Wirfs more, Gronk or Alex Cappa? Joe has nothing against Cappa whatsoever. Tough SOB. But he’s not the caliber blocker Gronk is.

16 Responses to “Gronk, The O-Line And Arians”

  1. Bucsfanman Says:

    Whether they are in the game-plan or not, the QB has to throw to them. These TEs (OJ, Brate) were in the passing tree on many downs and simply were not thrown to. That is not a “lack of usage” by the coach.
    The previous QB liked to throw downfield more, that’s it.
    I see TEs getting lots of looks, especially early on. I hope that Howard can step up his game, it would be the ideal situation.

  2. Tampabaybucfan Says:

    If a TE is open, he will get the ball from Brady……that’s simply who Brady is.
    The run-blocking should be much better with Gronk & Wirfs…..line the TEs up in the FB positon…..

  3. AlabamaBucsFan Says:

    For a RT Dotson was slightly above average as a pass blocker but he ranked as one of the worst run blockers. He was just too tall and could not bend his knees to handle any push. Wirf and Gronk is going to blow huge holes for Rojo and ke’shawn Vaughn. Finally, we get a new dimension in our offense. This should keep the defense on its toes.

  4. Morgus the Magnificent Says:

    Unless Arians COMPLETELY changes his offensive philosophy, we have too many TE’s, period. Trade one!!! (And old dogs like Arians rarely change.)

  5. Señor Harry in Costa Rica Says:

    @Bucsfanman Says:

    “Whether they are in the game-plan or not, the QB has to throw to them. These TEs (OJ, Brate) were in the passing tree on many downs and simply were not thrown to. That is not a “lack of usage” by the coach”

    I cannot agree with you on this. Prior to BA becoming the Bucs coach, it was JW that helped make Brate and OJ shine. When BA became coach, Brate and OJ disappeared. IMO, I think Brate was hurt last year and that was a factor.

    But the difference now is Brady will have way more input and his buddy Gronk will be in his ear. Gronk will be a factor, TB12 will see to it.

  6. Wombat Says:

    Having a QB who goes through progressions is the answer. The best two QB’s we had were Brad Johnson and Fitzpatrick. That’s in 2 Decades!!!!! As Arian’s said, it is easier to teach one player the playbook than 13. He knows Brady is smart. I have never heard Brady in the same sentence as “locks on to a target too long….” A new day in TB!!!!!

  7. SOEbuc Says:

    Morgus… Exactly. Doesn’t seem like they’re interested in trading OJ so are you just going to have one of the best receiving TEs with Brate on the bench all year to let his stock go down when we need a lot of money next year. OJ can split time and he can teach OJ how to become the large, athletic GOAT TE. Brates name is back in the spotlight at the moment with Tom’s arrival. We could get a good deal.

  8. SOEbuc Says:

    *Gronk can split time

  9. Chesapeake Bay Bucco Says:

    Morgus: “old dogs like Arians rarely change.” Except no other old dog ever had TB12 and Gronk fall into their lap. It’s called adjusting to your talent!

  10. stpetebucsfan Says:

    What excites me is our offensive line assignments will be unusual in a copycat league.

    Most teams are left handed with the LT being the anchor of the line to protect the blind side of the predominantly right handed QB’s.

    We will reverse that with Wirfs at RT instead of LT. Add Gronk..and any motivation through competition he is able to give OJ..and suddenly unlike the majority we’ll be a right handed running team. We will be strongest at point of attack where the D is the weakest.

    The possibilities are endless. How will any DC truly prepare for such a wide variety of weapons?

    I suspect one would begin by doing EVERYTHING possible to get to Brady….if Brady gets even a decent amount of time with our targets the Bucs’ will be unstoppable. So they will throw the kitchen sink at our OL trying to figure ways to penetrate to Brady.

    Draw plays with explosive backs like ROJO and Calais can sometimes explode if the back breaks through that first wave of rush. Swing and screen passes…quick shots to the TE’s…there are ways to punish DC’s who throw too much at Brady.

  11. Morgus the Magnificent Says:

    I will be surprised if Arians/Leftwich can fully utilize THREE quality TE’s…..but it is very unlikely.

  12. 541BucsFan Says:

    I’d love to see a few 3 TE sets. With Brate, OJ, Gronk it could be run or pass. Super tough to defend in short yarded situations. Seems perfect for Brady. He reads defenses and can audible really well.

  13. fernando diaz Says:

    don’t be amazed they are all playing when they go 5 wide
    Mismatch galore

  14. Iamabuc Says:


    Jeff Garcia was pretty good too…Imo

  15. Kord Says:

    As long as the Bucs can afford em I don’t see a problem at all, curious what happens with Auclair and Hudson, man we are stacked at te

  16. SOEbuc Says:

    I wanna hear Gronk’s real weight is at the moment? 3 Five Guys Bacon cheeseburger for breakfast then hit the weights.