Raj Mehta/USA Today Sports

Even though Rob Gronkowski hasn't been himself, Bill Belichick says he still gets double-teamed

Ryan Hannable
November 20, 2018 - 1:36 pm

FOXBORO -- Rob Gronkowski himself admitted a few weeks ago he doesn't feel himself this season.

The Patriots tight end has missed three out of the last four games with nagging ankle and back injuries and in his seven games played, he has 29 receptions for 448 yards and a touchdown.

On Wednesday, Bill Belichick was asked if he's still influencing defenses like he was when he was feeling himself and producing at a high level.

"I mean, I’m not really sure exactly what we’re talking about here," he said. "I mean, there’s plenty of games this year where he gets a lot of double coverage. I mean, they’d don’t double him on every play. They don’t double anybody on every play. Nobody gets doubled on every play that I’ve seen. So, sometimes they do, sometimes they don’t. I don’t know. You’d have to ask him about that."

Belichick did indicate Gronkowski's presence can change the way defenses play New England.

"I mean, he’s a good player," he said. "It’s obvious that it helps to have him out on the field. He’s one of our best players. So, of course it helps us when he’s out there."

Reviewing some recent games, it's shown Gronkowski hasn't generated double teams like he has in the past and can be handled with single coverage, especially the last game he played in Buffalo.

It appears Gronkowski will return to the field Sunday against the Jets, but the bigger question is how does he look and how does the Jets defense play him.

Related: Rex Burkhead, Dwayne Allen missing from Patriots practice