By: Russ Goldman
We are just about to enter the beginning of June, and Rob Gronkowski is one Patriots player that had dominated the off-season talk. Players deal with injuries all the time, but I have been wondering why this player is getting over the top coverage? I have come to the conclusion that the words “what if” are driving the overreaction to the injuries of Gronkowski.
I feel that Gronkowski could be a Hall of Fame tight end someday. He has the ability to be that player, and only time will tell if he can reach that legendary status.
However, the amount of stories, and talk about Gronkowski has been to the extreme, and it all centers around the words “what if”. These words first showed up after Super Bowl XLVI, and the Patriots lost a Super Bowl, but Gronkowski was dealing with an injured ankle. Some in the media, and fans were wondering what could have been with Gronkowski at one hundred per cent. What if Gronkowski was healthy for that game?
These words showed up again last season after the AFC Championship Game, after the Patriots struggled to score points, and ultimately lost to the Ravens. Gronkowski was out injured with a broken forearm. Could he have been the difference between winning and losing? What if Gronkowski played against the Ravens?
So this off-season, the words “what if” have completely taken over as Gronkowski was dealing with an infection in his arm, and I started to hear commentary like this on social media, and on the radio. What if the infection is still there and he has to have another surgery?
Fans and media were starting to speculate how much of the season he could potentially miss if the worst case scenario was the end result. Well, that never happened with his forearm, and hopefully his arm will be ready to go before the season begins as reportedly the infection is gone.
However, that has not been the end to the injury concerns because reportedly speculation has Gronkowski possibly having back surgery. Yet again those words have shown up in regards to Gronkowski. What if he misses the beginning of the season?
The words “what if” have driven the majority of talk about Gronkowski, and most of it revolves around fear that he will not be able to play at some point this season. Listen, he could miss a huge share of Training Camp, and possibly the beginning of the season. His physical play that fans appreciate could have a downside, and that could be injuries.
Well, on the flip-side of that, I have positive “what if” scenarios for all of the speculation regarding Gronkowski’s injuries. What if we start training camp in July and Gronkowski is out on the field? What if Gronkowski ends the season with 13-15 touchdown passes?
If these positive scenarios happen, won’t all of this injury speculation look pretty silly? That is why I recommend waiting, and seeing what happens when training camp begins. You are not going to get injury updates out of the Patriots so the only way to really know is to be patient, and see how it all plays out before the season begins.
Just remember last summer there was so much talk regarding fear that the Patriots offensive line would not be able to protect quarterback Tom Brady. The speculation was “what if” Logan Mankins and Sebastian Vollmer cannot fully recover from injuries? What if Nate Solder cannot become a solid left tackle? How did that all work out in the end?
For me the majority of the Gronkowski speculation is about getting “the story”, and a negative one can put fear into the fans, and also get you read it or listen to it. How long will the story last if Gronkowski is out on the field for Training Camp?
I have read and heard different speculation on the severity of this back injury for Gronkowski. There are positive and negative views on it, but the bottom line is the truth will be shown by being patient and waiting.
I am excited to talk about the Patriots, but have other topics that interest me. I want to talk about the potential of the defense, and can the secondary step up and improve to the level the defense needs it to be? I am looking forward to see how the offense will look with the new additions to that unit. Those are the stories I am looking to discuss as we get closer to Training Camp.
I am looking to talk about football, and not the fear that the words “what if” can bring. This should be an exciting season of Patriots football coming up, but injuries are a part of the game, and as you have seen with the three Patriots Super Bowl Championship Teams, they had to overcome them, and every team has to.
The Patriots have been pretty successful over the years of overcoming injuries, so when it comes to Gronkowski, I do not worry about it. The Patriots are better with him, but they will do the best they can if he is not available.
When the Patriots have lost games, I have never taken the view “what if” this happened. The Patriots lost two recent Super Bowls because the Giants made a few more plays than the Patriots did when it counted at the end of those Super Bowls.
The Patriots lost the AFC Championship Game to Ravens recently, because the team in Baltimore was better on that Sunday. It is possible that Gronkowski could have made an impact, but I don’t think what would have happened if he played. I think that type of talk is disrespectful to the Ravens who deserved the victory.
The words “what if” for me can symbolize an excuse for not achieving a goal. The Patriots have an opportunity in the end the Brady Era to win more rings, but if they do not, the words “what if” mean nothing to me. If they do not win those rings, it will be because they just weren’t good enough to earn them.