Steelers think they know how to slow Rob Gronkowski down

AP

When Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski has been healthy during his career, attempts to stop him by opposing defenses have generally ranged from futile to laughable.

The Steelers are hoping to change that on Thursday night when they open their season against the Patriots in New England and they feel like they have the right plan to make it happen. While their opponents would almost certainly keep such plans to themselves, the Steelers aren’t being shy about sharing that plan days ahead of kickoff.

Safety Mike Mitchell says that Gronkowski is successful “when people don’t put their hands on him” and linebacker Ryan Shazier said that the Steelers don’t plan on giving him that kind of welcome to the 2015 season.

“You just have to jam him up a little bit, mess with his timing,” Shazier said, via ESPN.com. “If you mess up their timing, they are really time-oriented. You have to mess up their timing and get in his face with pressure, then I feel we can slow him down a little bit.”

The Patriots will play without wide receiver Brandon LaFell on Thursday, which gives the Steelers fewer options to concentrate on defensively. That said, the Steelers’ plan would fall into the “easier said than done” column even if there weren’t already major questions about the Pittsburgh’s defense’s ability to stop players far less accomplished than Gronkowski.

141 responses to “Steelers think they know how to slow Rob Gronkowski down

  1. I can’t recall which team it was, maybe Seattle. They had a similar opinion and still couldn’t handle our offense. Jam up gronk, take him out, whatever. There will be 4 other receivers doing under routes that will pound you all day.

  2. What the Steelers mean is that they will grab, hold, and try to tackle Gronk along his entire route, because they assume that the league has it in for the Patriots, and the refs will let them get away with it.

  3. What happens when they put Gronk and Chandler on field at same time?
    If the Steelers go small, Brady audibles into run plays. Steelers go big and they have to cover 2 big & athletic tight ends and the small slot guys.

  4. When will you people learn? Just more gasoline on the fire. There’s an old saying. “Never miss an opportunity to say nothing.”

  5. The seahawks couldn’t stop him because the starters were injured. Put Jeremy lane back in instead of tharold simon, un-tear chancellor’s mcl, fix sherms elbow, repair earls shoulder, and the passing game gets a lot more competitive in the 4th.

  6. How to stop Gronk?

    Grade 4 math equations.

    Maybe Grade 5 English quiz.

    ^ Coming from a Pats fan.

    87 is best TE in the league, but dumber than a bag of hair.

  7. “Gronkowski is successful “when people don’t put their hands on him””

    That’s hilarious given that Gronk often just outright runs over defenders, throws them aside like rag dolls, drags 2 or 3 along for several yards at a time etc.

    Guess he hasn’t bothered watching much film of Gronk. Rob Gronkowski is just plain successful, hands on, hands off. As long as someone doesn’t cheap shot his knees you can’t stop him.

  8. See, you just have Tomlin saunter casually over to the field, throw a leg out at the right moment, and boom. Play over.

  9. They do know. They will try to injure him without getting caught. Just like they’ve done many times before.

  10. Whoa, jamming a receiver and getting pressure on the QB? Pittsburgh better patent that innovation before the league catches on.

  11. takeachancellor says:
    Sep 7, 2015 4:14 PM

    The seahawks couldn’t stop him because the starters were injured. Put Jeremy lane back in instead of tharold simon, un-tear chancellor’s mcl, fix sherms elbow, repair earls shoulder, and the passing game gets a lot more competitive in the 4th.
    ———————–

    Whatever. Everyone has injuries at the end of the season. Most teams don’t make excuses, though.

    The Patriots certainly wouldn’t have, had they lost.

  12. takeachancellor says:
    Sep 7, 2015 4:14 PM

    The seahawks couldn’t stop him because the starters were injured. Put Jeremy lane back in instead of tharold simon, un-tear chancellor’s mcl, fix sherms elbow, repair earls shoulder, and the passing game gets a lot more competitive in the 4th.
    ————————————————————–
    Forget all of that nonsense – just run the ball at the end of the game and it’s all moot.

  13. It is not impossible. Dion Jordan was able to do it and then became a PED using loser and cost the Dolphins a waste of a high pick. A real shame, but basically Jordan blanketed him the whole game and it worked. So any team with a 6’6″ super fast LB can do it. Oh, guess that’s no team including the Dolphins. Yeah, Gronk wins this for sure.

  14. So he was asked a question, and then proceeded to answer just like everyone else does. You want him to say “oh we don’t stop him, he’s unstoppable.”? Some of you really over analyze every single thing a player states when he’s asked by the media.

  15. Lol, don’t even know who Mike Mitchell is, reminds me of that other safety that Brady torched out of the league. And who is Shazier did he play last season or he was always injured. Anyhoo, everyone has a plan until you get punched in the face.. Thanks Tyson..

  16. I will be shocked if the Steeler D can hold the Pats offense to under 500 yards on Thursday. And Ive been a Steeler fan since 1980.

  17. So did they forget about stopping Chandler too? And Edelman? And about 4 different options out of the backfield? Should be fun to watch any which way.

  18. Juanweiner is not a steelers fan. Pats have too many distractions and not enough time to prepare. Steelers will win. It will be a close game though.

  19. If the Steelers lose to the Patriot’s again I look forward to the next bunch of excuses Steelers fans will make up.
    I hope Belichick does not interfere with a kickoff return. Fans in Pittsburgh and around the NFL would be calling for suspensions and loss of draft picks!

  20. In a game where I can’t stand either team and therefore have zero bias… shazier sounds like an idiot. Just gave the Patriots more fuel to the fire and I expect Gronk to go off on them.

    Also remember when opposing QBs completed 80% of their passes against the steelers D this preseason? Yea…

  21. juanweiner says:
    Sep 7, 2015 4:29 PM
    I will be shocked if the Steeler D can hold the Pats offense to under 500 yards on Thursday. And Ive been a Steeler fan since 1980.

    I have the same fears about Ben to Brown and co. too. It’s going to be a shoot out I’m thinking. Buckle up!

  22. Actually, the Steelers HAVE neutralized both Gronk and Brady, but they’ll have to duplicate the 2011 blueprint. In that convincing 25-17 win, Pittsburgh clamped down on the Patriot receivers, and Brady was harassed all afternoon. Gronk was limited to five catches before a late TD drive improved his stats, and made the final score look closer than how the game was played on the field.

    Unfortunately for the Steelers, the three key personnel losses on offense for this game will likely prevent the same kind of offensive output from 2011. In that one, future hall of famer Roethlisberger easily outplayed Brady.

  23. The Steelers have done it before when they had Cortez Allen shadow him all game and jam him at the line. 6 targets 4 catches 40 yards. Shazier is super fast and even if he jams Gronk and Gronk gets behind him Shazier has the speed to recover. I would focus on nothing but removing him from the game and let the others try and beat you.

  24. If Tomlin will uses his infamous “sweep the leg” move, he’ll have to be fitted for a prosthesis, so that plan is out the window.

  25. Jamming the receivers at the line & disrupting their timing routes has ALWAYS been the key to defeating Brady & the Patsies. I’m just not sure why it doesn’t happen in every game.

  26. It would really, really, help if Big Ben could somehow manage to hang more than 9 points in the first 55 minutes of the game.

    But that ain’t gonna happen. This is Small Ben in Big Games we’re talking about.

  27. Yeah… Disrupting his timing is good, but the real question is, “Who’s going to do it?”

    If you jam him with a safety, he shrugs it off. Brady will find Gronk.
    If you jam him with a LB, he might shrug it off, and you’ve just left a hole in underneath zones. Brady will find that zone.
    If you jam him with a DE, you’ve killed your pass rush from that side, and someone somewhere will get open. Brady will find that person.

  28. I love all these Seahawks fans saying “if our team wasn’t injured Brady and the Patriots wouldn’t have torched us waahhhhh”. Gronk wasn’t healthy in the playoffs for the last three seasons and the Patriots weren’t making any excuses. Denying the Seahawks of dynasty status made winning the Super Bowl that much sweeter.

    I can’t see the Steelers slowing Gronk down no matter what they do. This isn’t Jimmy Graham. I wouldn’t let the Steelers defenders watch what he did to Sergio Brown last year or they’ll see what being physical with Gronk really gets you.

  29. danceformemarionetteboy says:
    Sep 7, 2015 5:28 PM
    A good start is not letting them deflate their balls every game like they’ve done for 7 years.
    ——————————
    How’d that work out for the Colts and the Seahawks?

  30. The steelers are at it again saying stupid things. They could put 3 people on him and won’t stop him. Don’t forget to cover chandler or that could be trouble too. See you in the end zone.

  31. Seahawks limited him to 6 catches for 68 yards with an injured secondary. Gronk’s the best TE I’ve ever seen but obviously there are ways to slow him down.

  32. Sure, the Steelers secondary has their hands full. Nobody questions that.

    Odd that nobody is talking about the shaky Pats secondary vs. the NFL’s top passer and receiver from last year.

    Seems 90% of writers covering the NFL are lazy. They just repackage the popular narrative that’s going around.

  33. What’s laughable is the Steelers they have all the answers. The Ravens and the Colts and the Seahawks jammed Gronk all day. What they fail to acknowledge is when you get close enough to get your hands on Gronk, he and his longer reach and stronger arms can also reach you.

  34. dontletfactsgetintheway says:
    Sep 7, 2015 4:39 PM

    If the Steelers lose to the Patriot’s again I look forward to the next bunch of excuses Steelers fans will make up.

    * * *

    Sure, just completely ignore the fact that possibly the best center in the NFL, one of the best all-around RBs in the NFL and one of the best up-and-coming WRs in the NFL are OUT, along with their first team kicker. Yep, why should that matter. The way I look at it, the Steelers have nothing to lose, since everyone thinks they cannot win. The biggest loser will be the Pats if they lose, since the chips are stacked in their favor.

    But can you possibly imagine what Pats fans would be saying if Brady was suspended? Whoa!

    And the Steelers don’t have to worry about stopping Gronk. They better be planning to stop Brady, by putting him on his tail repeatedly. Are you listening James?

    GO STEELERS!!

  35. I can’t see the Steelers slowing Gronk down no matter what they do. This isn’t Jimmy Graham. I wouldn’t let the Steelers defenders watch what he did to Sergio Brown last year or they’ll see what being physical with Gronk really gets you.

    Did the Pats go undefeated last year…..? No, so they can be beaten and this Gronk invicibilty talk is from drooling jock sniffers who know nothing about football. If they did they would be very concerned about covering the Steeler wide outs.

  36. danceformemarionetteboy says:
    Sep 7, 2015 5:28 PM
    A good start is not letting them deflate their balls every game like they’ve done for 7 years.
    ——————————
    How’d that work out for the Colts and the Seahawks?
    _________________________

    Colts Sucked. Lets not act like the cheaters rolled the seahawks. 1yd and the cheaters suffer another sb defeat despite playing with under inflated balls all season.

  37. Steelers fan here. It’s going to get ugly. This might be the worst defense the Steelers have had since their SB team turned over in the late 90s. Tomlin does nothing but give one liners. The man cannot coach. The defense has gotten worse every year since it became his team (not full of Cowher players). Expect a 38-20 loss

  38. Gronk will dominate that defense, if by some miracle they figure out how to cover Gronk, there will probably not be enough to cover everyone else. If they lock down(laugh)the Patriot offense then I will go ahead and say the Steelers will be SB champs.

  39. Tj ward owned him.

    And the Seahawks couldn’t stop him? They were all injured on defense.
    _________________________________________

    Ward took a cheap shot and Gronk and Brady owned the “best secondary of all time” the legion of boom will forever be scarred by having Tom Brady carve them up in the Super Bowl.

    There’s a reason why a fourth banner is being raised at Gillette and not at your team’s stadium Seahawks fan. Don’t worry though misery loves company and the Steelers will fail as miserably as your team did at stopping Gronk.

  40. Two great franchises with over one fifth of the Super Bowl victories between them. A frenzied crowd celebrating a title and a victory over an evil Commissioner.

    Big and Tough Ben v. Tom Terrific., Steelers v. Patriots, to open the season. Enjoy it everyone.

    Go Patriots!

  41. As wonderful and delightful as gronk may be, the pats don’t present a good outside threat to take the safeties out of the middle of the field. They could double gronk most of the night and let whoever is playing wr for the pats try to beat them.

  42. Matters not. After the Patriots smoke the Steelers, the Pats kicking tees will be found to have been 1/8″ too high, causing unfair advantage.

    All the losers on twitter will hearken back to the days when “the integrity of the game” is what mattered.

    The NFL will conduct an investigation, and promise to have it wrapped up in a few more days.

    Kurt Warner and Marshall Faulk will admit they had suspicions about the Patritots kickoffs in 2001, etc.

  43. Steelers think they know how to slow Rob Gronkowski down
    ~~~~~~~~
    Their initial plan was to place a naked cheerleader a keg and a jukebox on the sideline but the league said no.

  44. psubeerman21 says:
    Sep 7, 2015 6:44 PM
    As wonderful and delightful as gronk may be, the pats don’t present a good outside threat to take the safeties out of the middle of the field. They could double gronk most of the night and let whoever is playing wr for the pats try to beat them.

    ———

    If you double Gronk, Brady will hit the open man even if it’s some guy you’ve never heard of. Or Gronk will still get open anyway.

    One team slowed him down last year, so they just threw to Tim Wright. Scott Chandler could get some big yards in that case.

  45. Notice how many Steelers stories there has been on PFT? Because Florio is a Pats fan. It’s basically ran by a Steelers fan. and a Patriots fan This site acts tough cause they are backed by a NBC but when The Raiders Daily called them out they did not want to go to war against Raiders fans

  46. To slow down Gronk you need to get to Brady. Seahawks did a good job of it in the SB until Avril went out. Kansas City Chiefs did a better job earlier in the year and handed my Pats one of its most embarrassing losses. Brady is a year older this season and a step slower so teams with decent pass rush will stop this offense. Is Steelers that team? We will see.

  47. Seahawks limited him to 6 catches for 68 yards with an injured secondary. Gronk’s the best TE I’ve ever seen but obviously there are ways to slow him down.
    ====
    But Amendola, Vereen, and LaFell wounded them and Edelman killed them.

    You can’t fixate on taking one weapon away vs. NE and TB, because he will simply shrug and throw the ball to someone else. You have to jam to disrupt timing, fill the middle, and successfully rush with four. The Giants did it and it won them two Super Bowls, but more teams don’t do it because it’s hard to get the personnel to pull it off.

  48. As wonderful and delightful as gronk may be, the pats don’t present a good outside threat to take the safeties out of the middle of the field. They could double gronk most of the night and let whoever is playing wr for the pats try to beat them.
    ===
    That’s true, but yuou could say that about NE since Moss left.

    It hasn’t mattered much.

  49. So now more than usual the Pats fans will be crying “conspiracy” after every call that goes against the Patriots. I can’t take it.

  50. gopatriotsgo says:
    Sep 7, 2015 4:07 PM
    Gronkowski reached 100 yards by the 2nd quarter in their last matchup… in just his 3rd game back from injury.

    ======

    Worth repeating…..Hope for a great game Thursday.

  51. Coach Tomlin will need to be wearing clown shoes for one of his perfectly timed side line trip-ups will hold Gronkowski to about 150 yds./2 tds.

    Cheaters.

  52. Pedmeg:

    Yeah and “stop” Roger Federer from winning tennis matches by asking him algebra problems

    “stop” Rory by quizzing him on history questions

    What the heck does academic intelligence have to do with great athletic ability???????

    Raising it is a nonsquitur

  53. Seriously though even with no Bell and Bryant the Steelers have enough weapons that I don’t see how the Pats slow them down. Wheaton has looked very good this preseason and don’t forget about Miller. Riddle me this who is harder to slow down Gronk or AB? I think the answer is pretty clear. The Pats are going to have to put 3 people on AB.

  54. Now that Tom is Playing, Ben pre-emptively reports he’ll be playing with an undiagnosed ruptured spleen.

  55. ohand16 says:
    Sep 7, 2015 10:55 PM
    Maybe Ben can have him fix the TV in his hotel room then …

    ————
    Maybe the hotel will have air mattresses that Brady can deflate.

  56. The only non-divisional team that the TB/BB led Pats’ have owned more than the Tin Curtain is the Colts. 7-2 in games started by Brady (including 2-0 at Pitt in AFCCG), including their most recent matchup, a 55-31 laugher when the Pats totaled over 600 yards of offense and confirmed to Pitt fans what they already knew ; that TP should’ve retired 3 years earlier.

  57. The only way Pittsburgh will stop NE and Gronk is when he is taken out of the game after 10 catches, 150 yards and 3 touchdowns. I guess he’ll only play 3 quarters and sit once NE builds a 34-0 lead.

  58. This sounds like the best overall gameplan. The last time the Steelers had their way with Gronk and the Patriots offense back in 2011 at Heinz Field. It was the only time we played them bump and run; physical and they couldn’t get off the ball. Not sure why LeBeau never installed that physical defense against Brady every time because he will shred the zone every damn time.

    If we’re going to play a physical game, we have a puncher’s chance. People are all over how Brady is going to thump the Steelers defense and don’t realize Ben can slice and dice theirs as well..with ease.

  59. The Steelers have a big problem with their offense, the offensive line. Forget about the loss of Bell, Bryant, Pouncey and Suisham. The line was mediocre at best before they lost Pouncey.
    The Ravens humiliated the Steelers and shut down Ben and Brown with no trouble at all in last years playoff game 6 months ago.
    That beatdown featured shutting down the running game and sacking Ben 5 times before knocking him unconscious in the 4th quarter.
    I wonder if Belichek saw that game?? What good is Brown if Ben is running for his life? Get the picture???
    The total lack of a defense in Pittsburgh this year is shocking. They have a murderous schedule and could easily finish 6-10 this year.

  60. shadywarrior says:
    Sep 7, 2015 4:06 PM
    Early prediction: 12 rec, 147 yds, 3 TDs

    72 37
    Report comment
    +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

    Shady,

    Gronk has NEVER had even one game in his career with double digit receptions.

    Gronk has only had two games in his career with 147 or more receiving yards.

    Gronk has only had two games in his career with 3 TD catches.

    Yet, in the SAME game you think he’s going to not only make it to double digit catches at 10 and set a career high but get 12 to go along with 3 TD catches and 147 receiving yards.

    Do you know much about odds? Factor the odds…

    Zero career games with 10 or more catches.
    2 career games with 3 TD catches
    2 career games with 147 receiving yards or more.

    And now you think he’ll do ALL three in the same game?

    I have a bridge to sell you…

  61. The patriots are just going to run the ball all game. Get a few calls from the officials… And coast to another gift victory.

    It has been written. NFL writes whatever script they want. This will be the “patriots and Brady on a tour of vengeance” year.

  62. Gronk is officially going to go off on these clowns defense. Steelers can’t stop anyone so it’s all fluff and preface hype that’ll be settled once the first quarter ends. I wonder if the steelers fans will leave by halftime when they’re getting shalacked

  63. What’s lower than shazier’s 40 time??

    His IQ! Gronk gonna throw you out the club little man!

  64. Wow, look at that photo, notice how Gronk always looks so unhappy? – maybe Reggie was right about the Pats being no fun. Gronk dude, try to enjoy life a little more.

  65. Maybe Gronk could chaperone TJ to the strip bar? – Gronk could catch any glass TJ throws, without even spilling the beer! So long as TJ plays fair of course – oh, wait…

  66. Simple solution, inflate footballs to 14 psi. Tommie boy can’t throw then.

    6 13
    Report comment
    ——-
    16 psi against the Jets. Pats won.
    Brady can win no matter what psi, no matter what your delusion is. Ultimately, the SB.
    Goodell knows that for other teams to catch up he had to step in and try to take the Pats out with dirty scandals.
    Brady slams Goodell.
    Now some of you pathetic losers finally realize that to keep Brady from winning is to injure him. The NFL might just agree and look the other way when your teams try to injure him and Gronk or any of their player for pay back. The NFL already took Brady out on their picture of quarterbacks to beat. Goodell and his NFL is seriously petty, a danger to Brady and the Pats but a boon to your teams. Brady will beat you all just the same.

  67. so you really think this is the Steelers game plan? seriously? this is media fluff, one comment expanded into an an article as a Steelers fan, looking for a good game with two outstanding offenses going up against each other.

  68. so you really think this is the Steelers game plan? seriously? this is media fluff, one comment expanded into an article. as a Steelers fan, looking for a good game with two outstanding offenses going up against each other.

  69. With possibly the worst secondary in the NFL it was mind boggling that the Steelers would say anything about stopping anybody. That was just plain stupid. NE took it easy on them and they still only managed 14 points with three minutes left in the game. They are a really bad team but I’m afraid the Pats aren’t a top tier team this year. Their defense is suspect for sure. A team less inept than the Steelers might have beaten them last night. Their run defense had to be giving Belichek a stroke. Wait til they meet teams with a good offensive line which Pittsburgh does not. Both Miami and Buffalo will bring much better defenses that may give the Pats trouble. My guess is that these three will beat each other up this year.

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