Bill Belichick is raining on Bruce Gronkowski’s parade. For the good of the team, of course.
NBC Sports Pro Football Talk is reporting that Gronkowski has declared he is ready to play his tight end position in the Patriot’s Sunday’s season opener against the Miami Dolphins. Gronkowski suffered a torn anterior cruciate ligament in his right knee and had surgery to repair the tear. The injury caused Grokowski to miss all four playoff games for the Patriots. An injury of this type usually takes approximately 10 months to a year to heal, but Gronkowski feels he is ready after almost nine months.
However, Belichick is not ready to name Gronkowski a starter. “I’m glad that Rob’s optimistic about this situation,” Belichick said, via CSNNE.com. “We’ll go through the week of practice and take a look at everything, everybody, and see where everybody’s at and try to do what we feel like is best for the team. With all due respect to Rob — I’m glad he feels the way he does — but, in the end, we’ll have to make the decision we feel like is best for the team and we’ll do that as we go through the week.”
ESPN is reporting that Patriots offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels is preparing different offensive packages, both including and excluding Gronkowski. “Rob has been practicing and we have been doing some different things, building our offensive system and packages as we go throughout the course of the year, and he has been part of that,” McDaniels said Tuesday. “Whatever we can or are available to use him to do — however big, small — whatever the decision is, he will be ready to do it.”
And, following the Belichick doctrine of offering vague and indirect information, McDaniels continued, “We are going to go in there and try to do the right thing to win the game this week and worry about going forward next week. Ultimately, at the beginning of the season, you are trying to go out there and let your team be aggressive, play football and try to do something they know how to do.”
As with any game, McDaniels emphasized that there are decisions to be made right up to the pregame for Sunday’s opener.
“There’s always some unknowns that are going to come up on opening day,” he said. “We are just going to out there and try to put together a solid plan with all our guys and let our players play fast and aggressive.”
Now, Belichick is not known for sharing any information with the media. It is possible that Belichick is deliberately withholding information, or is still unsure, or knows exactly what he is going to do. Whatever the case, the Dolphins will have to be ready for any contingency.
[Image via AP and Foxnews]