BY DAN BEGNOCHE
Tom Brady and the Pats put up 42 points against the Texans in Round 1 despite the absence of one of the offense’s main contributors, tight end Rob Gronkowski. But after a start in Week 16 and a week off to rest, Gronk is a go on Sunday. (photo: jdn, Flickr)
“The challenge for him is just amazing because of the size and the ability to…matchup-wise this guy has worn out a lot of corners and safeties,” Texans head coach Gary Kubiak told reporters via conference call Wednesday. “He’s very tough to handle from that standpoint.”
Brady picked apart defensive coordinator Wade Phillips’s squad with ease in Week 14, throwing for nearly 300 yards and four touchdowns. With Gronk tending to a broken forearm, fellow tight end Aaron Hernandez received a bulk of the workload, catching eight balls on 11 targets for a pair of touchdowns.
But while Hernandez has been proficient in the passing game, Kubiak noted Gronkowski’s uncanny ability to always come down with the ball when it’s thrown in his direction — a skill that plagues defensive backs.
“The thing that’s so impressive to me is if the ball is close he’s going to make the play, he’s going to make the catch,” Kubiak said. “To me, they do the same things, they’re very efficient with what they do. It just gives them another weapon in how they go about their business.”
Despite missing five games with his injury, Gronkowski still managed to lead all tight ends in touchdowns, receiving yards per game and receptions of 20 yards or more
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