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News Blitz 12/11: How the Patriots will survive without Gronk

Posted Dec 11, 2013

In this edition of the Patriots.com News Blitz, we take a look at several reports on how the Patriots will move on with the loss of Rob Gronkowski.

Field Yates with ESPN Boston wrote that the Patriots have the second highest salary cap hit on injured reserve.  With players such as Rob Gronkowski, Vince Wilfork, Jerod Mayo, and Sebastian Vollmer all receiving season-ending injuries, New England has a total of $27.4 of salary on injured reserve.  That number represents 21.1 percent of the Patriots salary cap.

Tom Brady is nominated for the GMC Never Say Never Moment of week 14.  Brady's two touchdowns drives in the final 2:39 earned him his second nomination in three weeks.  Ravens Quarterback, Joe Flacco and Packers Quarterback, Matt Flynn are also nominated for the weekly award.  Fans will be allowed to vote between the three quarterbacks until Friday at 3 p.m.  If Brady were to win, it would be the third time that #12 has earned the title this season.

According to Dan Shaughnessy, the Patriots will win Super Bowl 48.  In a satirical way, Shaughnessy outlined how Brady will lead a 43-point comeback en route to a 44-43 win against the Seattle Seahawks on football's biggest stage.  The article referenced the past three weeks when the Brady and the Patriots pulled off remarkable comebacks against the Broncos, Texans, and Browns.  In what read more like a Patriots fans' dream, Shaughnessy outlined five more amazing comebacks for the Patriots to make before the season is over.

"And then it happened again.  The Seahawks took a big lead, then looked across the field and remembered they were playing Bill Belichick, Tom Brady, and the Patriots.  It was too much for Pete Carroll & Co.  They folded.  Like all the others," wrote Shaughnessy.

NFL.com's Bucky Brooks writes about how the Patriots will survive without Gronk.  He claimed that the Pats will continue to operate in  run-heavy formations even without Gronkowski on the field.  Brooks also believes Shane Vereen will be the X-factor in the Patriots weekly gameplans as Brady will look to "dink and dunk" in spread formations.  According to Brooks, Julian Edelman and Danny Amendola will become the primary red-zone targets.

"Without Gronk owning space in the middle, Brady will rely on Edelman and Amendola to run a variety of picks and rub routes on the perimeter.  If that concept sounds familiar, it's because Brady used the same approach with Wes Welker for years," said Brooks.

Christopher Price says more knee injuries will continue to occur more often.  Due to the NFL's rules to protect against concussions, defensive players are looking to avoid hits to the head so that they are not fined.  According to Price, knee injuries will continue as a result.  Price mentioned that knee injuries have increased 60 percent since 2011, but that illegal hits to the head are just as prevalent as they ever.