Return of Rob Gronkowski against Saints comes at perfect time

Rob Gronkowski Patriots
Rob Gronkowski is set to return to the field from injury this Sunday against New Orleans. Credit: Getty Images

The Rob Gronkowski Watch has been in effect since, well … it’s always been in effect.

Whether he’s ripping down footballs in the field, partying it up with his brothers, or going under the knife, what Gronk does is usually headline news around New England.

Unfortunately for Pats fans, he hasn’t made any headlines on the field this season because he’s been out for the team’s first five games, still recovering from back and forearm surgery.

That may all change this Sunday.

According to multiple reports, Gronkowski is expected to be cleared to play this week and should be active for Sunday’s tilt against the undefeated Saints.

The news couldn’t come at a better time for a Patriots offense that has been borderline unwatchable to start the year, with the most recent example being the six points they put up in a loss to the Bengals.

It also validates the Patriots’ decision to not put him on the PUP list to start the season, which would have prevented him from playing until Week 7 at the earliest.

With Danny Amendola returning against the Bengals, and Gronkowski likely to return this Sunday, the Patriots offense may actually start to resemble one. The Saints, on the other hand, have the definition of one.

The Saints average 405 yards of offense per game (fourth in NFL) and 327 passing yards per game (second in NFL). Quarterback Drew Brees has plenty of weapons, including a stud tight end of his own, Jimmy Graham, who has 593 receiving yards and five touchdowns through five games. According to Pro Football Focus, Graham has been split out wide or in the slot in 166 of his 269 offensive snaps.


“Real tough. Graham is a very good receiving tight end,” Bill Belichick said. “They split him out, they keep him kind of in the traditional tight end position, but he has a big route tree . . . tough to handle on third down.”

Even the Saints’ running backs get in on the passing game. Darren Sproles is one of the best receiving backs in the NFL.

“Sproles is a real explosive guy that can take a pass behind the line of scrimmage, screen pass, angle route or flat route,” Belichick said. “Also he has a pretty big route tree too. Vertical routes, hot routes, outside routes. They use some empty formation – not a ton of it but enough. It’s hard to find [Sproles and Graham] – both of them. They move around quite a bit. They’re definitely tough matchups.”

So while much of the talk will be on the undefeated Saints offense heading into the game, the hope is that there will be some positive buzz – and maybe some hope – surrounding the Patriots offense when it’s over.


News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
National

Rapper affiliate of Wu-Tang Clan 'cuts off own…

Rapper Andre Johnson, who has performed with New York outfit the Wu-Tang Clan, is in a critical condition after reportedly cutting off his own penis…

National

Cleavage complaint: Disneyland staffer orders curvy mom to…

A curvy mom-of-three says she filed a formal complaint after staff at Disneyland Resort in California ordered her to cover up her boobs. Melissa Behnken,…

Local

Supporters say man accused of robbery was misidentified

A Liberian immigrant couple charged with extorting money from an elderly woman in March will be in court Thursday for a bail hearing, but supporters say it's a case of…

International

Canadian charged in 'Heartbleed' attack on tax agency

OTTAWA (Reuters) - Canadian police have arrested a 19-year-old man and charged him in connection with exploiting the "Heartbleed" bug to steal taxpayer data from…

Television

‘Survivor: Cagayan’ recap: Episode 8

Sure, it's called Survivor. But this season should really be called 'The Tony Show.'

Television

Jim Rash talks 'The Writer's Room' and amazing…

For Jim Rash, as the fifth season of "Community" comes to a close, the second season of "The Writer's Room" begins.

Television

'Dexter' star Jennifer Carpenter moves into producing role

The actress who played the title character's sister in "Dexter" is teaming up with producer George Stelzner to adapt Erika Hayasaki's book "The Death Class:…

The Word

Wahlburgers announce North America domination

Tuesday was a huge day for Donnie Wahlberg.

NFL

2014 NFL Mock Draft: Updated, new April version

2014 NFL Mock Draft: Updated, new April version

NHL

Flyers, Rangers meet in playoffs for 11th time

The Flyers and Rangers will start a new chapter in a historic rivalry.

MLB

MLB Power Rankings: A's are baseball's best, Brewers…

MLB Power Rankings: A's are baseball's best, Brewers and Braves right behind

NHL

Top 5 Philadelphia storylines for Flyers-Rangers

The slate is clean for the Flyers and the Rangers. Which is good news for the Flyers.

Wellbeing

This Week in Health: chocolate may prevent obesity…

Can chocolate prevent obesity and diabetes? Location of study: U.S. Study subjects: Mice Results: The positive health benefits of chocolate have been studied increasingly more…

Wellbeing

This Week in Health News: breastfed infants trying…

Are breastfed infants trying to prevent mom from having another baby? Theory: The act of breastfeeding not only brings mom and baby closer together –…

Wellbeing

Unexplained infertility may be caused by lack of…

Researchers have identified a protein on the egg's surface that interacts with another protein on the surface of sperm, allowing the two cells to join.

Tech

5 surprising facts about Google Glass

Your sex life could get more interesting.