Written by Matthew Cannata | Twitter: @PhinManiacs
New England Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski is one of the most dynamic tight ends in the NFL. However, injuries the past several years have limited him during games and throughout the season. On Sunday, it will be no different as he is coming off another major injury and hasn’t played in an NFL game in over nine months.
Despite that, the Miami Dolphins are taking no chances and have been preparing in various ways for most of the week on how to stop Gronkowski. Koa Misi, who was moved to the middle linebacker position, figures to have a key role in limiting him but didn’t give much away when asked if a linebacker would cover him.
“I don’t know,” Misi told Adam Beasley of the Miami Herald. “Whatever defense our coach calls, we’re going to play. Our defense is headed by a great defensive coordinator.”
In six meetings against the Patriots, the Dolphins have limited him to just 24 catches for 339 yards and three touchdowns while only allowing him to catch over 100 yards once. In that respect, and compared to the rest of the league – the Dolphins do a pretty good job of containing him as best as they can.
“We dialed up some things, kept some people over the top of him,” safety Jimmy Wilson said of the 2013 meeting. “You can’t really stop offenses with good quarterbacks like [Tom Brady], because they put the ball in spots where you can’t make plays on it. Especially when you’ve got a guy like Gronkowski, a big, giant, Pro Bowl-caliber type tight end. It’s got to be catch-and-tackle, catch-and-tackle. You can’t be catch-and-missed the tackle. He stiff-arms a guy, now he’s running 60 yards downfield.”
Louis Delmas, who came from the NFC, hasn’t played Gronkowski too much but has much respect for him.
“He’s a hell of a receiver, hell of a blocker and a hell of a tight end. We’re not going to allow him to get free release or anything like that. We’re definitely going to pick our matchups against him and try to dominate.”