When the news of Rob Gronkowski's back surgery hit on Thursday, there were more than a few folks around Foxborough wondering if the Patriots Super Bowl hopes were lost. But as is often the case with the Patriots, time eventually allows cooler heads to prevail and solutions to be found.
We at PFW are nothing if not cool, so look no further for solutions than right here at patriots.com. How can the Patriots overcome the loss of such a significant piece of the puzzle? Simple, others need to step up and fill the void.
So this week's Samsonite Make Your Case question is looking for the candidate who best fills this description. Can the offense keep beating team's into submission, or is time for the defense to prove its mettle and contribute a little more each week.
In short, which Patriot needs to step up the most for the team to have success in the playoffs?
PFW's Andy Hart says ...
The Patriots have been Tom Brady's team for longer than most people can remember, and ever since Gronk arrived in 2010 those two have been pretty much indispensable. Unfortunately Brady has some experience going without Gronk. and he'll need to be at his best this time around without his top target. Brady has been remarkable since returning to the lineup in Week 5. He's been able to use all of his weapons at times but with Gronkowski on the field that task is made that much easier. He'll need to produce more without him than he's been able to in the past when too many potential Super Bowl runs were derailed when the tight end went down. He still has plenty of options and should be able to put some points on the board to keep the pressure off the defense. It's up to Brady to make sure the season isn't lost.
PFW's Paul Perillo says ...
It's easy to have a knee-jerk reaction to this problem and say Tom Brady or Martellus Bennett or some other offensive star needs to step up to make sure the Patriots keep rolling. But I 'm looking at the defense, and it's time for that group to carry its share of the load. The offensive production will almost certainly go down with Gronkowski out of action, but that doesn't mean the wins should go down too. The defense showed a glimpse of playmaking ability in the win over the Jets, and if the group can build off that at all it's possible that the Patriots can keep winning. Whether Gronk remained healthy or not, the defense probably needed to improve. Now there's no choice in the matter. If the Patriots are going to find a way to have success in the playoffs, the defense will need to step up and no force the offense to carry the load.
Now it's your turn to cast a vote in this week's Samsonite Make Your Case poll question.