Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski was a unanimous All-Pro in 2014, and his return to top form helped New England make the Super Bowl for the first time since 2011.
However, Seahawks cornerback Jeremy Lane doesn’t believe Gronkowski is unstoppable.
Speaking to reporters Thursday in Seattle, Lane — a regular in Seattle’s “sub” packages — was asked what made Gronkowski “so good,” according to a recording of the interview provided by Curtis Crabtree of PFT and KJR Sports Radio in Seattle.
Lane paused for a couple seconds. A reporter joked, “He doesn’t like that question.”
Lane responded: “Yeah, I actually don’t think he’s that good.”
“Really?” a couple of reporters said.
Continued Lane: “Yeah. He’s OK, but, you know, he do have a big body, and from what I’ve seen on tape, you know, he don’t like your hands being put on him, so, you know, we put our hands on him and shake him up a little bit, he won’t catch that many balls as he should.”
A reporter asked if it was vital to be physical with Gronkowski (6-6, 255) right after the snap, and Lane (6-0, 190) responded in the affirmative.
“That’s always our key every week, put our hands on the receivers,” Lane said.
It’s logical the Seahawks would make being physical with Gronkowski a top priority. And it’s also resonable to believe the upside of such approach — perhaps getting Gronkowski off his game — has and will be discussed by the team, too.
Nevertheless, pledging to slow Gronkowski with hit after hit and executing said strategy are two different things. This is one of Super Bowl XLIX’s most fascinating storylines — the matchup of the league’s baddest tight end and the league’s stoutest secondary.
As for Lane’s quote? File it under Super Bowl bulletin board material. And get ready for the Patriots to be asked about it scores of times in slightly different ways over the next week or so.