Rob Gronkowski will be in the building on Sunday evening and the San Diego Chargers defense will have to be aware of where he is on the field on every snap. The Chargers have had a history of struggles against the tight end position, but they have faired well this season. Has anyone looked at the stats for the Chargers against tight ends at this point?
Opposing teams tight ends have 45 catches for 491 yards and 2 scores. That is the 4th best defense against tight ends this year. Compare that to the Patriots defense who have given up 58 receptions and 786 yards for 5 touchdowns to the tight end position. Antonio Gates should get some rook to work with on offense in the battle of great tight ends.
The Chargers defense will have their biggest challenge this weekend with Rob Gronkowski running around in the secondary. The safeties will have their eyes in his direction throughout the game and looking to stop him from making impact plays. The linebackers will know where he is and will be looking to get him off of his route.
Once he does catch the football, he is a physical beast that is tough to bring down and the team will need to wrap up properly. Players like Jahleel Addae can’t be looking to launch into him and think that they will make the play. Gronk will just bounce off of that hit and keep running.
The Chargers have to face Julius Thomas twice per season and he would be the closest comparison to Gronk that the team has had to face off against this season. In the game earlier this year against the Denver Broncos, the Chargers D held Thomas to 2 catches for 23 yards.
Gronk is a different animal. Gronk has been targeted 101 times this year while Thomas has been targeted 52 times. Gronk will get his catches, we just need to make sure to limit his impact. Challenge accepted.