The Rob Gronkowski Loss Is Glaring

September 19th, 2022

Through two games, Bucs tight ends have amassed 3 catches for 20 yards on 8 targets.

It’s hard to get much worse than that. Lead-dog tight end Cameron Brate is nowhere near the player he was in his prime. Kyle Rudolph can’t get on the field, and rookie blocking tight end Ko Kieft had a stone-hands moment with his first target of the season on Sunday. Fellow rookie Cade Otton has one catch for four yards.

All of a sudden, departed O.J. Howard looks like an explosive option, except he plays for the Texans.

The Bucs invested a ton of money into tight ends in 2020 and 2021 with Rob Gronkowski, Brate and Howard. That was done for a reason: Tom Brady not only relies on a tight end, he’s most comfortable when he has that option.

Yeah, Joe realizes anything the Tampa Bay offense does (or doesn’t do) against the Saints comes with an asterisk, since Brady and offensive coordinator Byron Leftwich have yet to figure out the puzzle of the Saints defense. But the ineffective tight end play appears to be more than just the Saints and Cowboys playing great defense.

Gronk’s agent, oily Drew Rosenhaus, has said multiple times that he thinks Gronk would embrace a return to the Bucs if he got a phone call from Tom Brady with an urging plea.

Joe suspects that phone call isn’t too many weeks away.

27 Responses to “The Rob Gronkowski Loss Is Glaring”

  1. Winny Testaverde Says:

    Sooner rather than later if so…it takes a while to knock the rust off. There’s definitely something missing…3rd downs and seam routes.

  2. theodore Says:

    Two words: Vita Vea

  3. Bucs Orlando Says:

    Keep Rob healthy for th3 playoffs.

    We can get there without him, bring him in for the final push. Irs not like anyone is worried he’d sign with anyone else.

  4. CrackWise Says:

    NAH, we are good with who we have. Two more weeks of this brand of football to establish our identity as a Smash Mouth football team.

    Once we become known for our MANING other teams. You will see the flow of the game trend towards lots of play action and TE seem patterns.

    No need to PHONE A FRIEND anytime soon.

    Besides, if Gronk is coming back at any point. IT IS ALREADY KNOWN! Perhaps that is precisely what will happen in a few weeks. But that would be part of the plan, NOT a desperation move!!!!

  5. Goatfarmer Says:

    As Brady gets more comfortable with his pass blockers, as Donnie gets well and Brady’s other targets heal up, things will be fine. Let’s not forget that the Bucs offense is an 11 dog sled running with about 4 healthy dogs.

  6. Maniac Buc Says:

    Our offense is perfectly fine. We have played two of the better defenses in the NFL, and we have won 2 gritty games. That has me more excited because we have shown we can win ugly games, something I’ve thought we would struggle with. Bucs fans have got to stop with alll the panicky non sense.

  7. MadMax Says:

    That one pass to Brate in the 4th qtr was another non call PI by the refs.

  8. Georger Says:

    19, 45, 28, 38 Joe, those are the points scored when Gronk was out. Average of 32.5 ppg. That is more than the average when he played.

  9. Joseph C Simmons Says:

    Gronk is done. I don’t know why nobody believes him.

    I’ll put it this way: remember how old and slow he looked at the beginning of the 2020 season? That’s the Gronk we’d get if he came back, but even older and slower.

    It’s best we let those two rookies develop.

  10. Leighroy Says:

    Not having 2 of our top 3 WRs and then losing your top WR in the 3rd quarter doesn’t help. Remember there was never supposed to be a need for elite TE play in this offense given the weapons out wide and in the slot.

    The lack of TE stats weren’t a “problem” in Dallas. It only became a problem when depth was winnowed down yesterday.

  11. Buccobill99 Says:

    Is gage really worth the 10 mill

  12. Bucfan Says:

    Part of the problem was Brady’s mini vacation. Brady does not need the reps but
    the TEs needed the work to develop timing with the QB.

  13. Oddball Says:

    What 99 said.

  14. Anonymous Says:

    Is it because Brate is a better blocker than Rudolph? Not sure what I am missing with Rudolph being inactive and Otton/ Rudolph not getting Brates targets.

  15. George Says:

    Gronk is the GOAT of Tight Ends. Enjoyed every second of him playing with Bucs. It is better that he stayed retired. If he came back now he would be a shell of who he was and that would not be helpful

    He should enjoy time with his girlfriend

  16. Bucball20 Says:

    Hey Joe, tell leftwich to use more motion to get his receivers separation from man coverage. The few times they used it, it worked well.

  17. BucsCoolade Says:

    Gee .. I remember posting the value of Gronk and top tight ends .

    My observation was the super bowl having travis Kelce and Kittle.

    And gronk in so many of them.. so what’s up?

    I thought gronk would get his ass motivated and in shape USING ALL BRADY METHODS.. for another return…sooo…


  18. PassingThru Says:

    Gronk ain’t coming back. That said, the Bucs lost an elite red zone target, someone whose performance Gage and Julio cannot replicate.

  19. Listnfrmafar Says:

    Anyone that thinks Gronk is done or wouldn’t be an asset to this team are morons. The guy was out 5 games last season and still had almost 1000 yds receiving. Nothing worse than reading posts from those that don’t know the game. Bucs99@ Brady missed a total of 4 practices, I think the team was counting on Rudolph not the rookies and Brate is turning into a total bust. Brady MAKE THE CALL! I miss the commercials.

  20. admin Says:

    Is it because Brate is a better blocker than Rudolph?

    Quicker, gets better separation.

    In training camp, Rudolph was just a guy.

  21. T REX Says:

    rudolph hicks and jones…all duds

  22. Yucs2Bucs Says:

    @joe we’ve met a couple of times and I work down at the Tampa Sports Authority and most of the response today was of concern not just about the TEs, but the over all conditioning and health of these new players. Yes stoked to be 2-0, but I guarantee ME13 is regretting what happened and hoping it’s only one game. Those 3 quarters for the offense were brutal and didn’t get to watch the game until later because the wifey and I were driving back from Georgia and from Toms play, not converting on 4-1s to not stopping the run ? Yes thankfully JW went back to his old ways and the safeties and DBs Capitalized, but if Julio.. CG.and Evans are sitting next week who does TB throw to and why is it so hard to get Gage involved. Were the Tuddies going to come from and I would be on the phone with Gronk ASAP and missing Tyler Johnson because Scottie doesn’t belong out on that field. I hope next week is another W, but the Chiefs game and team is next level

  23. Bucfan Says:

    Rudolph is MIA and doubt he will produce much when/if he ever sees the field.

  24. Listnfrmafar Says:

    I hope Gage is injured, if not what a disappointment he’s turning out to be. He was supposed to replace AB??? Inferior

  25. Bucamania Says:

    Brate has really disappointed. Time for Cade Otton to become the man.

  26. Kody Says:

    NAH… Cade, Ko and our new RB White are all very capable receivers. Could be rookie jitters or they just need more practice snaps with TB targeting them, but these three will all make some big catches this season. You’ll see.

    And Gronk? Love him, but he’s gone. Time for the new blood to take over.

  27. steele Says:

    Many of us have called for a creative Gronk replacement plan from the get go. Otton isn’t ready. Kieft was a preseason surprise, but now his inexperience shows. Brate is…Brate.

    Kyle Rudolph is “supposed” to be an answer, and clearly isn’t. A sensible and too-obvious signing on paper, but that was contingent upon Bucs staff vetting him, making him work out, making sure he isn’t washed. Now they’re paying the price. There were other options, and they didn’t go for them.