What Will Rob Gronkowski Do?

January 19th, 2022

Receiver or blocker?

Normally in a big game like Sunday’s, Joe would expect foot-rubbing film guru Rob Gronkowski to play a big role.

Tom Brady loves to lean on guys he trusts. And clearly, Gronk is one of those guys. With the Bucs down two of their three top wide receivers, it stands to reason Gronk would get a lot of targets.

Even Kevin Seifert understands this. The BSPN NFL columnist believes Gronk will be a key figure as the Rams often get gouged by tight ends.

X factor: Buccaneers tight end Rob Gronkowski. He will continue to be our X factor as long as his team is in the playoffs. His touchdown reception in Sunday’s 31-15 wild-card win over the Eagles was his 15th in 21 postseason games with Brady, including two in the Super Bowl last season. The Rams’ defense gave up 90 receptions to opposing tight ends during the regular season, No. 22 in the NFL. But those passes resulted in only four touchdowns, tied for the sixth fewest.

But will the Bucs use Gronk as a receiver in the pass game? Joe thinks perhaps not.

If Tristan Wirfs really has a high ankle sprain as Bucs Super Bowl-winning coach Bucco Bruce Arians said this week, it is very difficult for Joe to believe Wirfs can or will play. That’s a major loss against a team with three damn good pass rushers.

So Joe was thinking the Bucs would do a lot of jumbo protections. To do this properly, since Wirfs and maybe Ryan Jensen are out, the Bucs would need to hold Gronk back to block more than usual. Take a rewind to the playoff game against Washington last season. Gronk had one target and no catches as he spent a lot of time taking on edge rushers.

It’s going to be one helluva chess match on Sunday. Bucs offensive coordinator Byron Leftwich has his work cut out for him.

32 Responses to “What Will Rob Gronkowski Do?”

  1. Tampabaybucfan Says:

    We’ll need Gronk to block…..but, he’ll get his share of targets.

    I fail to see how Jensen misses this game……if he does, coaches should be faulted for allowing him back in the Phil game with injury.

    Sometimes, you just have to say no to your players.

  2. PassingThru Says:

    Yeah, I’m not so sure about Gronk’s role on Sunday. Wirfs is likely out, and the backup shouldn’t be expected to fill those shoes. In fact the RT spot became a turnstile last Sunday.

    I think Gronk is going to have more of a blocking role. There will be a few catches here and there after Gronk delivers a chip block, just to keep them honest.

    It’s tough having a banged-up OL vs. the Rams. They have Aaron Donald and Von Miller. I’m sure the Bucs will use 6 OL from time to time and even OJ sightings, but that means one less man to cover for their defense.

  3. TheBucsAnthem Says:

    Gronk is nothing more than safety value for Mr Brady…..

    We’ve pretty much seen Gronk as an additional blocker……and that will obviously be increased significantly this Sunday. Gronk was most Effective when we had Chris Godwin and AB drawing more defensive coverages away from him……but since they’re both gone….guess who the defense will be looking out for????…….hummmm…..ain’t that hard to say now…………ME13 & Gronk.

    The Rams defensive plan will focus on taking away the middle of the field just like New Orleans did because they know Tom Brady will be Captain Dink N Dunk for like 90% of the game…..asides from taking a few deep shots (if possible).

    This Bucs Defense has to play SuperBowl Winning Caliber Defense in order to even have a chance of winning this Sunday.

    The Bucs Defense has to turn this game into an ugly, low scoring game…….the Bucs has to simply “survive” this game.

  4. Bobby M. Says:

    I think the advantage we have is howard, Perriman, miller and johnson all know the system very well but there’s not a lot of film on them. Leftwich/Brady can move them around a bit to disguise routes. I think this game features a lot of role players on offense and Brady distributing the ball all over.

  5. Jeff Says:

    There is no hope here. Gronk will have to block. Can’t beat these guys with a fully healthy roster. Zero chance with half the offense out. Rams 30 Bucs 13 and Brady will look bad. Very bad.

  6. Sandman Says:

    I hope that the bucs doesn’t invest 6 guys to block 4 or 3 rushers, that is recipe for disaster.

  7. DarenGibo Says:

    OJ HOWARD this is your chance at redemption! If he can be used (AND SUCCEED) as a blocker to protect Brady and allow time for passes to Mike and Gronk, I will forgive you for the NOTHING you have provided over the years!

    I am sure you are still gone after this year, but I won’t hold the grudge if you can do the above.

  8. Bird Says:

    They are down safeties so got to game plan. They got one guy who sat out a year. Now he was probowl before but as we know it tales half a year to get legs

    Gronk can block majority but no reason he cant release to go down field
    Watch for brady to tap leg on gronk side when-its time

  9. Mike Says:

    The Rams can be beat but it will take a great effort from all three phases of the game on the Bucs side. The Bucs will have to run the ball effectively and keep the chains moving with the short to intermediate passing game. There’s no doubt that they will need to keep in extra blockers, and Gronk is our best blocking TE, so it’s likely he won’t be running that many routes in this one. Just keep Brady clean and he will find the open man.

  10. Conte Piscatelli Says:

    We are down wr at this time anyway, why not go 6OL and keep Gronk on the field as the “3rd wr” plan on running the ball and still be able to throw to Gronk.

  11. bucschamp Says:

    31 points and we win

  12. BA4President Says:

    Someone pooped in @Jeff’s cereal.

    Now… Who did it??

  13. Hodad Says:

    Gronk will have to play more RT than TE Sunday. No way we leave a hurting Wirfs, or Wells one, on one with Von Miller, and A.D.. That’s fine. I have faith Brate can pick up the TE receiving slack, and maybe even O.J. makes some plays. Gronk has to stay in and block this game.

  14. Trophybuc Says:

    It’s a must to be able to run. This is obvious as depleted
    the wrs are currently. However, there is always one
    Player who steps up unexpectedly in postseason.
    May be 21 set two Rbs that can catch. Safety valve
    2 sides? 3 tight ends…pound it? The Bucs have
    to win 1 on 1’s keep TB12 protected. The receivers
    have to sell their route and expect the ball!
    It’ll been fine! Go Bucks!!

  15. Francisco Guzman Says:

    I keep saying it but the bucs are gonna need from these other wideouts to move the ball. Different defense. You can’t depend on just two guys.

  16. TheBucsAnthem Says:

    HA HA HA HA HA HA!!!!!

    ……SOMEONE has the nerve to try to say OJ Howard is effective..

    OJ HOWARD IS 100% A COMPLETE BUST…….please people.

    Stop saying OJ HOWARD can help this team…..cause he can’t; he’s never shown at any point in time since being drafted in the 1st round that he’s a difference maker either as a blocker or a receiving threat…….it’s Pretty Bad when players15 years older than him get more reps and playing time than he does…..HE’S A BUST!!!!!

  17. SB~LV Says:

    Hopefully so much attention will be focused on Gronk and ME , BA can cut loose on some of the younger offensive surprise weapons.

  18. Ed Says:

    You have to use OJ Howard in this game if you are sending Gronk out on a route out of the slot to help the right side. If you want to do something the Rams won’t game plan for, use OJ Howard on screens to the right and short stuff.

    OJ Howard is a bust, a head-case, whatever he is, he isn’t dependable but he is a big athletic guy and he is getting paid millions of dollars. BL has to use him for something.

    Joe and others have written about Howard not being the same after his ACL injury. Not all injuries are alike but Cam Acres came back in 7 months and looked fast as hell vs the Cards. Perhaps Mr. Howard’s multi-million dollar contract kept him secured and didn’t put the work in that Acres put in to rehab himself? No way of knowing but how is it that its more than a year later and he isn’t playing?

  19. SOEbuc Says:

    PRAY FOR LENNY!!! I hope Bucs are blowin some smoke about him having to wait a game time decision. A lot of Brady classic dump downs to a good receiving RB corp is huge against LAR defense. Gotta protect Brady from Von Miller on the right side.

  20. Craig Says:

    I would not trust O.J. to block for Brady in this. Gronk will have to block for a bit. Then, maybe, fake a block for a quick out or six.

    Ramsey will be on Evans like stink on toast, so Brate will get a lot of chances.

    The main thing is that the Bucs have to get their fast guys to blow the top off the defense, and give Brady time enough to get a ball or two close to them.

    That doesn’t happen and the safeties will be blitzing on every first and third down.

    Leftwich has to shine in this one, scheme will be the key, it is also where the Cards fell.

  21. PassingThru Says:

    In one of the personnel packages that I’m envisioning, OJ Howard will definitely be a part of a jumbo set. You’d have Gronk and OJ as blockers, or peeling off as either safety valves (Gronk mostly in that role). OJ isn’t going to block like a OL, but he can help keep a defense honest as a receiving threat.

  22. Bird Says:


    Someone had the nerve to say brady was a bust last year when they picked him up
    Someone had the nerve to say brady has a noodle arm both years even though he led the league on 20 yard plus passing and leads in almost every category this year
    Someone had the nerve to say jeff dryskel would best brady
    Someone had the nerve to say bucs suck/ coaches suck/ brady sucks etc etc

    And bucs anthem just recently shared he is a football coach. 😂

    What ? When you play madden?

    I feel bad for whoever you are coaching real or unreal that it may be

  23. BT-Tampa Says:

    Why is it a given that our backups will fail? Stinnie came in for Cappa and did well last year. Instead of paying through the nose for Mahomes and spending nickels on backup oline, Bucs had the money to spend on quality back up. We can all thank Giselle!!!

  24. Alanbucsfan Says:

    Maybe Bucs will shift Gronk into a fullback position a few plays and run it at ‘em the way the 49ers did.

  25. Posey99 Says:

    I’m really not that worried about the backup lineman leverett and stinnie . Both have shown they can play. They won’t be caught of guard going against future HOF Suh and Vita Vea in practice. I am worried about who is going to plav RT. If it’s Cappa I’m not concerned. Wells… another story.

  26. TheBucsAnthem Says:

    @ Alanbucsfan

    The Bucs don’t use a Jumbo or a Heavy package unless it’s on the goaline or Brady QB sneaks…..it’s not used a regular component as their offensive gameplan.

    Teams have pretty much deleted the use of the Fullback in favor for longer blocks being held on the line for a more potent Air Attack.

    San Francisco are one of the Few teams in the NFL that actually lists “FB” on their rosters for a player. Most “FBs” tpday (if you wanna call them that” are Hybrid TEs and some even former Lineman……..essentially just additional blockers in offensive schemes.

  27. PassingThru Says:

    That’s an excellent question, Joe. Every morning when I wake up, I ask myself, “What Will Rob Gronkowski Do?”

    I then drink a beer.

  28. Alanbucsfan Says:

    Whatever the 49ers did to kick the Rams ass in the 2nd half of their game, Bucs should look at…

  29. BigPoppaBuc Says:

    I think the offense has to be aggressive. Establish the run, yes. But look for the big plays as the Rams will be looking to stop the run and clog up the middle to prevent the Brady quick passes. Rams’ back end is vulnerable and we still have some speed at WR. Let Gronk help in protection, use Evans to draw coverage and create some big plays. I think trying to play ball control and play scared of the LA pass rush will be exactly what they want us to do. We have to be aggressive early and score.

  30. Cannon Says:

    People calling for OJ Howard are a bit mistaken… Cam Brate on the other hand…

  31. Sparky Says:

    The Rams lost to the 49ers last week, and barely beat a banged up Ravens team missing their qb, the week before. I wouldn’t say they have looked unstoppable. TB will find a way to put up 4 scores even if he has to run the ball himself, and the defense will hold the Rams under 21. It will be a nail biter, but a win.

  32. David Says:

    I am thinking about 5 catches 75+ yards. TD
    BUT… Mostly he’ll be blocking, a lot