Separation Fading, Savvy Growing

June 5th, 2021

Bucco Bruce Arians, during his CBS analyst days, got in trouble for using the phrase “wide-ass open” during a live game.

That quite funny if you pause to think about it long enough.

Joe’s been studying all kinds of 2020 Bucs film over the last month (when not watching the Rays embarrass the American League). And Joe’s noticed Rob Gronkowski certainly — and understandably — isn’t consistently the terrorizing tight end he was in the passing game years ago.

This also was on the mind of former Bucs scout and Jets linebackers coach and personnel executive Pat Kirwan this week, as he dove into grading the Tampa Bay tight end corps.

“Does he separate like he did? No.” Kirwan said of Gronk.

But Kirwan went on to say Gronk overcomes and rises to greatness at times via “complete harmony and chemistry with the quarterback.”

Ultimately, Kirwan gave Gronk an overall tight end grade of 9 — on a scale of 1 to 10, and the Bucs’ tight end corps got Kirwan’s top grade he issued to a complete unit, a “19” out of 20.

Joe has no doubt that the Bucs have the most talented tight ends corps in the NFL. And their 2020 desire to keep a big-money, No. 3 tight end paid off; Cameron Brate finished (including playoffs) with 41 catches and 3 touchdowns despite living on the bench until O.J. Howard blew out his Achilles in Week 4.

The fun thought is that Gronk might be quicker and more fluid in the offense this year after shaking off a year of rust/retirement and adjusting to a new playbook.

O.J Howard appears to be healthy, and Brate is coming off a huge postseason and is rather low mileage for a 30-year-old.

Enjoy the animation below from NextGenStats. It’s the kind of thing Kirwan was referencing with Gronk.

14 Responses to “Separation Fading, Savvy Growing”

  1. SB Says:

    It is only because Brady knew EXACTLY where he would be after his cut. Thereby allowing him to throw before he made the cut.

  2. Bird Says:

    Saw bucs receivers ranked #1 from one group like pff
    Saw another rank bucs tight ends number #1

    Think about that – evans, godwin and brown the big 3. With scooter , johnson and darden likely rounding out group

    And then gronk , brate and howard.

    Brady is playing a video game with that all-star cast

    This year should be fun. Got my tickets

  3. Leighroy Says:

    Yup, that’s what harmony and chemistry for ya SB! Gronk should have another year enjoying those despite not being the dominant physical specimen he once was, Brate can still catch most of what comes at him, and if OJ can replicate that catch against the Broncos week 3 last year more often, this unit will justify that 19/20 further in 2021.

  4. lambeau Says:

    Brady throws his guys open, which is why they have to run precise routes–the ball will be where they’re supposed to be.

  5. Rico 210 Says:

    SB are you trolling right now? Reread the article. For crying out loud. Do you not interpret what is clearly being written?
    Go Bucs

  6. SB Says:

    Rico 210 Says:
    June 5th, 2021 at 8:29 pm
    SB are you trolling right now? Reread the article. For crying out loud. Do you not interpret what is clearly being written?
    Go Bucs


    Um Sir, I am Lauding Brady’s and Gronk’s presence on the field together.
    Why on earth would I be trolling?

  7. SB Says:

    Leighroy knew what I was alluding to. But then he has a sharp football acumen so he usually does.


    I have every game Gronk has played in, many of you have no idea what a force he can be and many of his receptions are in very tight coverage, in the past always double teamed. With the WR talent on this team it is impossible to double team him, expect a huge season from him in 2021. This is the most motivated he has been in a long time and a motivated Gronk is like covering a tank.

  9. Jason Says:

    Opposing DC’s : ” So who do we double team today?”.
    Bucs receivers and tight ends: “ooh! Pick me! Pick me!”

    I fully expect our offense to send at least a couple of coaches into early retirement. Lol.

  10. Bbro Says:

    Should be a great year to be a Bucs Fan 👍

  11. Ben green Says:

    Gronk still has a few good games left in him. The physical devastation his body has endured is astounding. From a contact knee destruction by TJ Ward, to his five arm surgeries, he’s also one of the best blocking te’s in history. That in and of itself takes a tremendous physical toll.

    The ward hit was much more serious than a torn up knee. He also had a severe concussion and his neck began to swell in the hospital that night. Forever after the seam routes that made him so unstoppable were basically scrapped. He became a much easier player to defend. He basically runs crossers with the occasional pick and pop. Save up those tuddies for the playoffs

  12. rrsrq Says:

    I listened to that and he said: TE1 – Gronk, TE-2 Brate, TE3 – OJ, TE4 – McElroy. I agree that the Bucs have the beat TE room in the NFL. But when healthy is TE2-OJ and TE3-Brate and TE4-Hudson. An argument can be made also about Brate and Howard as 2A and 2B interchangeably.

    They also talked about Jameis after a caller called him a top three athletic QB. They were critical of his athleticism and pointed to running touchdowns, even ranking Kirk Cousins ahead of him. JW had 6 running scores his first year and probably one of the most athletic runs by a QB against the dirty birds for the first down, DK came along and stopped his running.

    Jim Miller tried to make an excuse for Jameis saying his rookie year the OC got sick and he had a college OC, nope wrong year, JW wasn’t their when Lovie planned for Telford and got the rookie OC.

    Those two for me, have never been well-versed on the Bucs

  13. Sport Says:

    JW is a sloppy athlete. He stumbles and lumbers when he runs. Gets his chest and arms swinging like Joe Cocker!

    OJ is probably cool with being 3rd best….Dude ozone season away from being a total bust.

    Make or Break Year!

    In BA I Trust!

  14. Jim Kelley Says:

    I have to say there is not a weakness on this team and if they can stay healthy they will “probably” repeat. I look forward to this season as there’s a lot going on off the field with many teams that guarantee this will be a crazy year.

    What I’m really looking forward to is Jameis Winston being “the man” for New Orleans. I’ve always felt he was an overrated QB by a wide margin and would love to see him finally answer the critics one way or another this year. I fully expect him to trip over his own feat and fall on his face but if he proves me wrong that will be another ingredient in what is undoubtedly going to be a fun season no matter how you look at it.