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Rodney Harrison, Tony Dungy, Cris Collinsworth weigh in on Rob Gronkowski-Travis Kelce debate

Ryan Hannable
October 11, 2018 - 10:27 am
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On Wednesday, Rob Gronkowski wouldn’t involve himself in the discussion of who is better, him or Travis Kelce, as he said he would let the media debate for themselves.

That is exactly what NBC’s Rodney Harrison, Tony Dungy and Cris Collinsworth did on a conference call Wednesday to preview the Chiefs-Patriots game Sunday night.

Dungy and Collinsworth gave the edge to Gronkowski, while Harrison went with Kelce.

Here’s what they had to say.

Harrison: "Wow, Coach Dungy and I, I think it was last year when I said Kelce was the better tight end and he said he’ll take Gronk all day long. I love Gronk. He’s a big huge target, but Kelce brings something a little different. He brings that athleticism. He brings that fire.

"You know, there’s times when he gets outside of himself and he could be a hothead and get a penalty, but athletically, just matching up with them, so the things that he can do.

"I would say at this point in time, if I were a safety playing man-to-man coverage, I would probably have a little bit more trouble defending Travis Kelce as opposed to Gronk. He’s a big guy. Obviously he pushes off and he uses his body well, but at this point in time, just the level of speed and athleticism, the youth factor; the fact that Kelce has been healthy. The quickness and his route running, I would say Kelce at this time is the better tight end."

Dungy: "I’m going to ask you a question. If it’s one game and they are both healthy, I’m taking Rob Gronkowski because I think he’s a better blocker and more of an inside tight end.

"But Rodney’s point is valid. Travis has been a lot more available over the course of the last couple years, healthier. So if you’re talking about long term, that makes — I’m a Gronkowski fan, if I’ve got one game to win and they are both healthy, I’m taking Rob."

Collinsworth: "It’s interesting, I would have said Rob for a long time, too. But I’ve got to say it’s getting a little closer in my mind.

"I agree with Tony that the big tiebreaker for me was Gronkowski’s ability to block. We see him on some of those tight end wham plays where he just devastates defensive linemen. His pass blocking ability in seven-man protections are the keys in many ways to that offense and we know what he’s able to do.

"Now he is banged up and he is not running like he has run in the past with his ankle or whatever it is.

"But I’ll tell you this about Kelce: A, he’s better on the line of scrimmage than he’s been in the pass blocking; and B, he is one of the best blockers in the open field, and the way that the Kansas City Chiefs are playing right now, they are such a space team. They are so much into motion, reverses, screens off of that, all the different things that comes with this offense. A lot of times, it comes down to can that tight end make an open field block off a spring and big play, and he does that a lot and he’s really good at it.

"So I don’t think I have a favorite because it’s like — to me, it’s like comparing apples to oranges. These two players really could not be any more different at the position. I have played, you know — Kelce is a little more new age and Gronk is a little more old school, but both are great players."

Related: Hannable: Patriots are catching Chiefs at good time

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