Nobody’s more bummed out about Rob Gronkowski missing the rest of the season to have surgery on a herniated disc in his back than Tom Brady.
"Well, you know, it doesn't help losing great players," Brady said. "And to not have Gronk out there — one of our best players and most dependable, consistent players — and not in the lineup makes things challenging for us.”
It sure does. Gronk’s production leads the Patriots offense. He’s only played in eight of 11 games this season and he’s only caught 25 passes, the fourth-most on the team, but he’s tied for the team lead with 540 receiving yards. That’s 17 percent of the total Patriots’ receiving yardage.
"We have a lot of good players on our team that are going to need to fill the void, and it's a big void left by such a spectacular player in Gronk,” Brady added. “But I don't think that any of us are going to give up on what we're trying to accomplish."
It means more work for Martellus Bennett, the other tight end, the guy they brought in to recreate that fantastic two-tight end offense they used to have. Players like Danny Amendola, Chris Hogan and, of course, Julian Edelman will take on more of the workload as the Patriots gear up for playoff run.
They should be fine, but it’s one more vulnerability that leave the AFC race wide open.