Dec 30, 2012; Foxborough, MA, USA; New England Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski (87) celebrates after scoring a touchdown against the Miami Dolphins during the second half at Gillette Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Mark L. Baer-USA TODAY Sports
When the New Orleans Saints encounter the New England Patriots in one of Sunday’s best matchups, the Saints will unfortunately have to deal with the return of Patriots’ star tight end Rob Gronkowski.
Gronkowski is the best tight end in the NFL right along with Jimmy Graham, but has missed the entire season thus far with a back and forearm issue. NOLA.com’s Larry Holder has the details:
"The New Orleans Saints would be smart to prepare for the New England Patriots’ Rob Gronkowski as the prolific tight end expects to be cleared to play Sunday against the Saints after missing the first five weeks because of back surgery, Pro Football Talk reports.Gronkowski’s back surgery compounded his health issues this offseason after undergoing multiple surgeries to repair a broken forearm. The Patriots elected not to place Gronkowski on the physically-unable-to-perform list."
Gronkowski’s presence on the field is a major issue for the Saints, a team with a stellar defense considering the mess the unit was last year. Still, the addition of more weapons for quarterback Tom Brady will hurt the Saints, as the the defense struggled to defend the long pass last week against the Bears.
Perhaps the one thing this doesn’t change is the overall key to the game on defense — pressure on Brady will equal a win. If the Saints continue to apply consistent pressure, Brady may have little time to get Gronkowski the ball anyway.
All in all, the Saints’ preparations for the Patriots just got much more complicated. How do you think it will impact the game?
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