With the Bucs down four of their top six receivers, many thought a big game was coming from Rob Gronkowski against the Panthers. But the Bucs star tight end was only targeted twice, catching one pass for 23 yards. The other throw, a dime from Tom Brady in the back corner of the end zone, was dropped. That’s becoming a bit of a habit from Gronkowski over the past two weeks.

“Just number of opportunities,” Bucs head coach Bruce Arians said on Bucs Total Access this week. “He’s uncharacteristically dropped a couple balls. I thought he had a touchdown in this game. But it didn’t happen.”

When healthy, Gronkowski has been one of the best tight ends in the NFL this season. The 11-year vet has 41 catches for 550 yards and six touchdowns in nine games. But over the past two games, Gronkowski has gone quiet. He drew 11 targets against the Saints, but managed just two catches for 29 yards. The former All-Pro tight end dropped three passes in Week 15. Gronkowski also had a couple other catchable opportunities fall incomplete.

Against the Panthers, Gronkowski just wasn’t featured that much. He spent five reps in pass protection, his most since Week 3. Unfortunately, he also had Brady’s best pass of the day go right through his hands on a would-be touchdown. The Bucs would settle for a field goal instead.

“Yeah, we dropped one. ‘Gronk’ (Rob Gronkowski) has got to catch that ball. The other one, they had good coverage on the one. There wasn’t anything special, we just didn’t convert. We didn’t play very well in the red zone [and] inside the five.”

Despite Gronkowski’s recent struggles, this seems more like the exception rather than the rule. Four drops in two games is a bump in the road for a player with Gronk’s history. If the Bucs can get him back on track and get Mike Evans back on the field, their offense will be formidable once again.

You can listen to the excellent entirety of Bucs Total Access right here.

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About the Author: Jon Ledyard

Jon Ledyard is PewterReport.com's newest Bucs beat writer and has experience covering the Pittsburgh Steelers as a beat writer and analyzing the NFL Draft for several draft websites, including The Draft Network. Follow Ledyard on Twitter at @LedyardNFLDraft
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6 months ago

Gronk’s drops aren’t a sign of anything, possibly just something goin on in his head. Come playoffs, there’s almost no chance our Stars don’t turn it on full blast. In the end, these last two games will be a final learning lesson for both our bench and our Coaches on how to make it work with what we got. Hopefully we get back to full strength (minus season ending injuries) by the playoffs or after the first game and we can get back to terrorizing both Defenses and Offenses.

6 months ago

Could his ribs still be bothering him? The video seemed to show he hesitated a bit to bring his arms up to catch the ball.

6 months ago

It’s not that unusual for very good receivers (wide and slot receivers, tight ends, and running backs) to experience a short run of the dropsies. I remember back in Mike Evans’ second season, 2015, and for a time he led the league in dropped balls, and his catch percentage at 50.0% was the lowest of his career … of course there was a chorus of Bucs “fans” who called him a “bust” because of that. But Mike still got his 1,000+ yard season (1,206 to be exact), and the critics failed to take into account that many of the balls… Read more »

Last edited 6 months ago by Naplesfan