On Tuesday, Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski looked like a 50-50 shot to play against the Buccaneers this Sunday. By Wednesday, his chances had dwindled to something less than that, according to the Boston Globe.
"According to a league source, Gronkowski is healthy enough to play, but the Patriots want to get him more practice time before suiting him up in a game," the Globe's Michael Whitmer wrote. "For that reason, the source said, the Patriots are leaning toward keeping Gronkowski out of Sunday's home game with the Buccaneers."
The good news is that Gronk's return is imminent. The bad news is that Tom Brady will be without his big-play tight end for at least another week. And that's on top of the fact that he's already without his top four receivers from last season, in addition to free-agent acquisition Danny Amendola.
When Gronk does return the expectation is that he will have an immediate impact.
“I think any time you have a player that can make the kind of impact that Rob has made in the past, if you have a player like that back, it has to affect your plan, and hopefully only in a positive manner,” Patriots offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels said Tuesday. “I don't know if it would affect the groupings that we would use, or whether we would use a certain tempo or not, I don't know if that would impact it. But you'd like to have a guy like that on the field as much as you can if he's ready and able to contribute the way that Rob has always been able to.”
As far as Brady and the offense is is concerned, the sooner the better. For an idea of how bad things have been through two games, of five wide receivers and two tight ends, only Julian Edelman and Amendola have positive ratings, according to ProFootballFocus.com.