Patriots quarterback Tom Brady was talking before word was out about Rob Gronkowski’s season-ending knee injury.
But you don’t have to be a doctor to know the Patriots are going to have to do business differently — yet again — without their star tight end.
“You just have to find a different formula. That’s the important part,” Brady said during his weekly appearance on WEEI, via Jeff Howe of the Boston Herald. “Gronk provides a certain margin of error because of how talented a player he is. The other guys play different roles for us. Those roles are going to have to just shift, kind of what we did on the last two drives of the game. We ended up going four wide receivers at points. [At] different points, we had more with [James] Develin and [Matthew] Mulligan on the field. We’re going to have to make due. Whatever the combinations are, if Gronk’s not out there, then we have to try to figure those out.
“We’re going to go down to Miami with confidence that we’re going to win the game, I know that — confidence in our game plan, confidence in what we’re doing and what we’re asking all the players to do. It may be different than what the game plan was with Gronk in there, but we’re just going to have to try to figure it out.”
Of course, getting through a game with the Dolphins is one thing.
How successful they’ll be able to be without Gronkowski (considering the season-long state of their passing targets) remains to be seen.
“That’s perfect for you guys to talk about all day, but that’s not something that we engage in or talk about those types of things,” Brady replied when asked if they can win the Super Bowl without Gronkowski. “However it ends up playing out — I don’t know anything about the injury or severity of it — but we’ve got a talented group of players that are playing. Every team has players that they wish were out there every down, and if they’re not out there every down you’ve still got to find a way to win.”
While no one’s going to feel sorry for them as long as they have Brady, the procession of stars on IR — which includes Vince Wilfork, Jerod Mayo and soon Gronkowski — certainly presents a tremendous challenge to overcome.