Gronkowski sees increased output in passing game; is it a sign of things to come?

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The guy who came to Tampa Bay to be a blocking tight end is suddenly catching plenty of passes.

Rob Gronkowski, after being targeted four times in two games and catching two passes, caught six passes on seven targets for 48 yards against the Broncos. The one target that didn’t result in a completed pass was a potential touchdown that he was unable to catch before exiting the back of the end zone.

Coach Bruce Arians was asked on Monday whether this is the commencement of a “snowball” effect for the blocking tight end’s involvement in the passing game.

“I think it’s just individual games,” Arians told reporters. “This was a ‘Double-Team Mike Evans Game’ again and the middle of the field — those guys worked it over pretty good. I think part of it is getting in game rhythm, but it was more the way they tried to play us that the tight ends got so involved.”

Gronkowski participated in a season-high 93-percent of the offensive snaps, taking part in 63 of 68 plays. The question of whether he’ll do more blocking than pass-catching will continue to be a focal point for the Bucs, with the next data point coming Sunday, when the Chargers visit Tampa Bay.

Four days later comes a prime-time game for the Bucs (and a Super Bowl LII Nick FolesTom Brady reunion), against the Bears on Thursday night.