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Michael Irvin on D&K says Gronk is no longer best tight end in the league

Alex Reimer
September 28, 2018 - 2:37 pm

Add Michael Irvin to the small group of folks who think Rob Gronkowski has maybe lost a step.

In his weekly interview with “Dale & Keefe” Friday, Irvin said he no longer thinks Gronk is the best tight end in football. He says that honor now belongs to Travis Kelce of the Chiefs. "I do believe that Rob is a bad boy, but it’s Travis Kelce now,” Irvin said. “I can truly say he’s probably the best tight end in the league right now.”

Kelce has the statistical advantage right now, catching 16 passes for 229 yards and two touchdowns. Gronkowski, meanwhile, has caught 13 passes for 189 yards and one touchdown. 

Of course, the lack of weapons besides Gronk are perhaps the biggest reason for his slight drop-off. He’s frequently getting double-teamed at the line, due to the Patriots’ wretched receiving corps. Earlier this week, Chris Gronkowski told “Kirk & Callahan” his brother was “super frustrated” about the state of New England’s offense.

“What’s around Travis Kelce has a lot to do with it,” Irvin said. “Just look at what everybody is doing right now. Every team comes in and says, 'We’re going to double Gronk, and make sure somebody else beats us.’ If they go in and say, ‘We’re going to double Kelce and make sure somebody else beats us,’ they’ll say, ‘OK, no problem, I’ll beat you with Kareen Hunt. I’ll beat you with Sammy Watkins.’ So a lot of it has to do with what (Kelce) has around him, compared to what Gronk has around him.”

While Irvin didn’t go nearly as far as Bill Belichick confidante Mike Lombardi, who called Gronk slow this week, it’s apparent the Patriots’ thin receiving group is greatly impacting his play. Those incentives are looking tougher to reach with each passing week.