Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski is finding it hard to get open lately, and his brother can tell that it’s bothering him.
Gronkowski has been routinely double-teamed and has a combined six catches for 66 yards in the last two games — both Patriots losses — and his brother Chris Gronkowski said during an interview with WEEI that it’s beginning to wear on him.
“Usually a tight end is being covered by a linebacker, who really can’t cover anyone,” Chris Gronkowski said, via the Boston Globe. “When you’re giving up two of your best defenders — two safeties or a corner and a safety — to cover a tight end, your guys on the outside should be able to win
“It’s just super frustrating to watch, and they’ve got to figure something out.”
Chris said he hasn’t talked specifically with his brother about it, but knows him well enough to know it’s an issue.
“I can just tell by his emotions, his facial features, that he’s super frustrated with it. You can see at the end of the game, how they ended the game double-covering him, pressing him off the line,” Chris said. “He just wants to get the ball in his hands and make plays. But you just can’t do it when no one else is getting open.”
The Patriots wide receivers haven’t impressed, and have to survive one more game before Julian Edelman‘s suspension ends. They also traded for Josh Gordon, though he wasn’t active Sunday. And since none of the other targets can get open, teams are able to focus on Gronkowski.
And while he might not appreciate his brother airing his business, Chris also said game situations weren’t the only thing bugging his brother.
“It was kind of a crazy offseason,” Chris said. “There wasn’t a ton of communication between [Rob and the Patriots]. He wanted to get paid what he deserved. He wanted to be paid as one of the top tight ends for once. It’s been a struggle for him to make that money. . . .
“[Rob] knows what he needs to get done. He just wanted some more freedom, and he wanted to get what he deserves. He was being paid like he was just a mediocre tight end and just wanted to get some respect on that front.”
The Patriots ultimately reworked his deal, but also tried to trade him to the Lions (which Rob Gronkowski scuttled by threatening to retire). Perhaps if he had accepted the deal, working with Golden Tate and Marvin Jones and Kenny Golladay would have helped him get open, and he would have probably gotten paid as well.