How Rob Gronkowski is opening opportunities for other Patriots

FOXBOROUGH, Mass. – It is sometimes said that a player can make an impact without showing up on the stat sheet, and New England Patriots coach Bill Belichick highlighted how tight end Rob Gronkowski did so in the team’s most recent victory.

As part of his regular segment of breaking down successful plays after a win on Patriots.com, Belichick showed up running back Dion Lewis’ 16-yard touchdown late in the second quarter against the Dolphins last Thursday was a result of the attention Gronkowski drew from multiple defenders.

“This is the type of play that you kind of lose sight of with Gronkowski,” Belichick said, before showing how he aligned on the right side of the line and then ran a post.

“You can see the coverage he attracts. As many plays as he makes, sometimes he’s also the guy that helps open something else up, and Dion comes out of the backfield, runs the angle route, and Rob drags the coverage with him. It turns in to a pretty easy play because of the attention that is focused on Gronkowski.”

Elsewhere in the film segment, Belichick detailed Gronkowski’s 47-yard catch-and-run touchdown and how play-action was a big part of it by drawing the linebackers closer to the line of scrimmage.

Other plays highlighted by Belichick:

  • Dion Lewis’ 17-yard reception on third-and-16 on the opening drive, highlighting a hustle block by right guard Tre’ Jackson. That specific block was noted in film review. Belichick also credited offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels with a good play call.

  • A third-down stop early in the second quarter, with ends Chandler Jones and Rob Ninkovich producing solid rushes to the inside (overall five-man rush), with man coverage in the secondary. Belichick used the play – in addition to Jones’ sack on a three-man rush against a double team later in the quarter and safety Duron Harmon’s interception -- to highlight how the defense, overall, was successful on third down (holding Miami to 2-of-11 success rate).