It’s no secret that New England Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski can change the game in an instant. That’s why the Miami Dolphins have been zeroing in on him during their preparation this week. This becomes even more important with the injuries that the Dolphins are experiencing at the linebacker position because if they can’t figure out a way to stop him, it’s going to be a very long day.
“Unfortunately, he looks outstanding (joking). The guy has 10 touchdowns,” Joe Philbin said. “He’s averaging almost 14 yards a catch. They do a great job of utilizing him within the scheme. As we all know, number one, he moves extremely well for a man of his size, and two he catches the ball well, and number three he’s not easy to bring down. He’s one of their outstanding weapons that they utilize well, and it sure looks like he’s playing as well as ever. He’s had production in this league for a long time and he is somebody that we’re going to have to really have focus in on Sunday.”
Dion Jordan is one of the few people in the league who has had success covering Gronkowski in the past. On Sunday, he may be asked to stay on him throughout the course of the game and he is certainly looking forward to the challenge.
“I got a little taste of it last year up there. If I have to this week, I’ll be prepared. If I have to do it to help my team, then I’ll definitely do it. This year, they’ve put me in position to cover other guys. I had to get ready mentally and physically to do it. If it happens this week, I’ll be prepared.”
Jordan talked about the various challenges of facing off against Gronkowski, including the ability for him to inflict punishment on defenders after catching a pass.
“You guys watch football just like I do. He’s definitely one of those tight ends or receivers in general, because they do use him in multiple formations in different places on their offense. His size and obviously his athleticism, the quarterback that is giving him the ball, that’s probably the biggest thing. He has a lot of mismatches. He’s been doing very well this season.”
Cameron Wake, who has had his share of Gronkowski in the past, said that the Dolphins will need to rise to the occasion and play their best football if they want to win the game. He noted that regardless of who it is, it’s another great football player but didn’t discredit the way that he impacts the game.
“He’s a consistent player. I think when he gets in there that he does his job well and he does it consistently. That’s always something that is going to stand out on the football field regardless of position. It’s another week where, we as a defense, have to do whatever we can to limit that and stifle that as much as we can from all facets of their offense because when those guys can get it going they can make it tough. We have been focusing on us week-in and week-out, and this is another week we have to play the same style of defense that we’ve been playing. Obviously, the last few times we went out there, we got the job done. We have to make it three.”
We’ll see if the Dolphins can neutralize Gronkowski on Sunday. If they do, that’s one less person they need to worry about on the dangerous Patriots offense.
This story was written by Matthew Cannata. Follow him on Twitter: @PhinManiacs