Arians gets blunt about Gronk's role in Bucs offense

/ by Darren Hartwell
Presented By Nissan

Tom Brady targeted Rob Gronkowski about seven times per game over the tight end's nine seasons with the New England Patriots.

Through two games in Tampa Bay, however, the Brady-Gronkowski connection has been non-existent. So, why has Gronkowski caught just two passes on four targets so far this season?

Buccaneers head coach Bruce Arians addressed the matter in plain terms Wednesday.

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"We haven’t had that many red-zone opportunities and I don’t see him running 40 yards past people any more," Arians told reporters, via The Athletic's Greg Auman.

"We brought him in to just play tight end. If that means no catches, that means no catches. If it means 10 catches, it means 10 catches because he's open and that's where the ball goes."

Gronkowski has played 73 percent of the Bucs' offensive snaps through two games, so playing time isn't an issue. It sounds like the 31-year-old simply isn't getting open, though -- and that defenses are treating him more as a run blocker than the matchup nightmare he used to be in New England.

"I don't think (defenses are) paying that much attention to him," Arians said earlier this week.

Gronkowski sat out the entire 2019 season, so maybe he just needs some time to shake out the cobwebs. But Tampa Bay has plenty of other offensive weapons -- wide receivers Mike Evans and Chris Godwin and running backs Ronald Jones II, Leonard Fournette and LeSean McCoy, to name a few, so the reality may be that Gronk just doesn't have a prominent role in Tampa Bay's passing attack.