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TE Rob Gronkowski - New England Patriots

6-6, 264Born: 5-14-1989College: ArizonaDrafted: Round 2

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Photo: Kirby Lee, US Presswire

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News you need to know

General News (Tue Jan 27): is often a tough matchup for opposing defenses, but Seattle Seahawks cornerback Jeremy Lane said he doesn't think Gronkowski is "that good." "He's OK. He does have a big body. But from what I've seen on tape, he doesn't like you putting your hands on him. So if we put our hands on him and shake him up a little bit, he won't catch that many balls," Lane said. Gronkowski could cause a problem for the Seahawks during Super Bowl XLIX, because the Seahawks defense allowed 11 touchdowns to tight ends this season, which was third most in the NFL. Gronkowski led the Patriots in touchdown catches during the regular season. Seahawks head coach Pete Carroll thinks his team matches up well against the All-Pro tight end, though, as K.J. Wright and Bruce Irvin are "pretty tall and long" and Kam Chancellor is "about as big a strong safety as you can find.' The Seahawks will be focused on not allowing Gronkowski and Tom Brady to take over the game.

Week 21: vs Seattle Seahawks

Mark and Joe say: Tough matchup. Tom Brady threw 33/50 for 367 yards passing, three TDs and zero interceptions vs. Baltimore in the Divisional Round of the playoffs; Julian Edelman also threw a TD pass (1/1 for 51 yards and one TD) to Danny Amendola. Rob Gronkowski had 13 targets for 7/108/1 receiving, while Amendola (six for 5/81/2) had one of his best games as a Patriot receiver. Edelman also saw 14 targets for 8/74/0 receiving, while Brandon LaFell handled seven for 5/62/1. Tight end Michael Hoomanawanui (four for 4/43/0) and Shane Vereen (five for 4/39/0) also helped out here and there. Against the Colts during the Conference Championship, the Patriots rushed for 40/177/3 while Brady tossed 23/35 for 226 yards, three TDs and one interception (with one sack taken for -6 yards, and three rushes for 13 yards). Edelman led the team in receiving with 11 targets for 9/98/0 receiving, while Vereen (four for 3/41/0), LaFell (six for 4/28/0) and Gronkowski (eight for 3/28/1) were all very involved. The other two TD passes went to offensive tackle Nate Solder (one for 1/16/1) and fullback James Develin (one for 1/1/1). All told, eight Patriots caught passes against the Colts - Brady is utilizing a diverse array of targets during the playoffs. The Seahawks field the league's number one ranked pass D, averaging 185.6 net passing yards allowed per game, with 17 passing scores allowed during regular season offset by 13 interceptions (tied for 18th in the NFL) and 37 sacks (20th) generated. They intercepted Cam Newton twice during the Divisional Round game (23/36 for 230 net yards passing, two TDs and two interceptions thrown, with two fumbles forced by Seattle and two sacks taken for -16 yards, along with another eight hits on Newton by the Seahawks). During the Conference Championship, the Seahawks limited Aaron Rodgers and company to 19/34 for a mere 178 yards, one TD and two interceptions thrown, with one sack taken for -7 yards - they put on two crucial goal-line stands during the first quarter of the game, limiting the Packers to 18- and 19-yard field goals the first two times the Packers penetrated the red-zone. Shaun Hill was intercepted twice, sacked four times for -40 yards, had a fumble and threw zero TDs during the season finale in Seattle (26/37 for 203 net yards passing). Seattle's defenders go for turnovers as well as covering opposing receivers extremely well, having allowed three passing TDs and generated six interceptions over their past three games played. There are injury issues for the Seattle secondary entering this game, though - FS Earl Thomas is playing through a separated shoulder (he'll be in a brace and hasn't practiced much during the run-up to the Super Bowl), while CB Richard Sherman has some degree of elbow injury (conflicting reports have ranged from torn elbow ligaments to an ulnar nerve problem) - Sherman has practiced in full leading up to the big game though and insists the elbow won't be a limiting factor, while Thomas has spoken about needing to rely on his teammates more than usual on Sunday. Even though the Seahawks have some walking wounded in the secondary, they are extremely tough in this phase of the game - advantage, Seattle.

Recent Stats and Projections

WEEKOPPRECYDTDFumL
19 vs BAL 7 108 1 0
20 vs IND 3 28 1 0
21 vs SEA PROJ-Dodds 6 * * *
21 vs SEA PROJ-Tremblay 6 * * *

Recent Game Summaries

2014 Week 19 vs BAL (13 / 7 / 108 / 1 rec)

What did the Patriots do when they were in the hole 14-0 after two Ravens drives? Throw, throw, throw at Rob Gronkowski, who responded with a chunk play then a huge gain of 40+ yards to set up the first Patriots touchdown. Gronk did his thing by routinely handling defenders, getting covered oddly at times with just one man, and making sure he caught what he needed to. Gronk's touchdown was a simple 5 yard slant play with 1 on 1 coverage. Apparently NFL teams haven't learned to double up Gronk in the end zone yet, but the Patriots will take it every time.

2014 Week 20 vs IND (8 / 3 / 28 / 1 rec)

Don't worry Gronk fans. Gronk played just fine, but with the running game dominating and Julian Edelman running wild, Gronk simply the first option like he is in many weeks. He did have a drop, but did score his usual touchdown for your weekly dose of Gronkspike. On the play, he beat a safety 1 on 1 on a slant route from 5 yards out. Earlier in the game, Vontae Davis matched up against Gronk on the same type of play and won the battle, so it's no surprise the Patriots tried it again with a different matchup.

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Latest News

Patriots | Seattle looking to shut down Gronk (Tue Jan 27, 12:17 PM) - New England Patriots TE Rob Gronkowski is an offensive weapon that the Seattle Seahawks are focused on shutting down during the Super Bowl Sunday, Feb. 1. Seahawks head coach Pete Carroll thinks his team matches up well against the All-Pro tight end, though, as LBs K.J. Wright and Bruce Irvin are 'pretty tall and long' and SS Kam Chancellor is 'about as big a strong safety as you can find.' The Seahawks will be focused on not allowing Gronkowski and QB Tom Brady to take over the game.

Our View: Yeah, good luck with that. The Seattle defense has a weak spot in the middle, and that's Gronkowski's territory. They'll have to commit at least two defenders to slowing down the superstar tight end....and even that may not prevent him from having a big game. Gronkowksi is a key player to watch on Super Sunday.
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Seahawks | Seattle Seahawks struggles against TEs (Mon Jan 26, 01:51 PM) - New England Patriots TE Rob Gronkowski could cause a problem for the Seattle Seahawks during Super Bowl XLIX, because the Seahawks defense allowed 11 touchdowns to tight ends this season, which was third most in the NFL. Gronkowski led the Patriots in touchdown catches during the regular season.

Our View: The weak spot (yes, there is a weak spot) for the Seahawks defense is up the middle. Every team struggles with Rob Gronkowski, but he could be the difference maker for the Patriots offense. His ability to attack the deep middle seam will help open things up for Tom Brady and the passing game.
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Patriots | Seattle to be physical with Gronk? (Thu Jan 22, 05:39 PM) - New England Patriots TE Rob Gronkowski is often a tough matchup for opposing defenses, but Seattle Seahawks CB Jeremy Lane said he doesn't think Gronkowski is 'that good.' 'He's OK. He does have a big body. But from what I've seen on tape, he doesn't like you putting your hands on him. So if we put our hands on him and shake him up a little bit, he won't catch that many balls,' Lane said. Gronkowski caught 82 passes for 1,124 yards and 12 touchdowns this season. Lane could be lined up often against Gronkowski in the slot in the Super Bowl.

Our View: Gronk smash is more than just a saying, it's Gronkowski's mindset. Good luck with Seattle trying physical coverage against him. The weakness for the Seahawks defense is up the middle, and we think it will be difficult for them to slow Gronkowski down.
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Patriots | Rob Gronkowski plays well against Colts (Sat Jan 17, 06:38 PM) - New England Patriots TE Rob Gronkowski has 17 catches for 297 yards and one touchdown in four career games against the Indianapolis Colts. He has gained 71 yards after contact as well.

Our View: Gronkowski plays well against everyone. He's nearly impossible to match up with in single coverage, so expect the Colts to put at least two defenders on the talented tight end. Even bracketing him with coverage may not be enough to slow him down...forget about shutting him down.
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