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The best moments in press conferences come when players and coaches are transparent about what happens behind the scenes during a game. Thanks to Bucs tight end Rob Gronkowski, we know exactly how his second touchdown reception from Tom Brady transpired in Week 1.

Before the snap Dallas showed pressure across the board, covering every gap at the line of scrimmage. As a counter Brady adjusted the protection, then realized he had a potential solution at his disposal. By giving Gronkowski the opportunity to check-release at the line of scrimmage, Brady knew he would have a wide open target over the middle if the tight end could sell the block.

 

The Cowboys sent seven rushers on a Cover Zero blitz, leaving four defensive backs to cover four Buccaneers receivers. That left Gronkowski, who was in-line to protect, with an advantageous matchup if he could release into his route. Gronkowski sold the route with a great set to block, then quickly burst upfield before defensive end Demarcus Lawrence could react. The result was Brady and Gronkowski’s 100th connection for a touchdown.

Bucs TE Rob Gronkowski

Bucs TE Rob Gronkowski – Photo by Cliff Welch/PR

“I know, I don’t like to give away that play, that’s my favorite play,” Gronkowski said after the game. “Tom made a great call. I think I was actually on a route and then he checked me into blocking, then checked me into blocking and releasing. I was like, ‘oh man’. He just sees it all on the field, it’s impressive.

“He’s been playing for like 80 years, so he’s seen every defense and every player. He has played with so many and has seen so many fronts too. He saw it, he read it well. It’s a play we have scored a couple [touchdowns] on in our career. No more talking about that play, because I like that play and I don’t like anyone knowing about it.”

Brady’s intelligence at the line of scrimmage is second-to-none, but perhaps Gronkowski doesn’t get enough credit for his football IQ. According to Bucs head coach Bruce Arians, the future Hall of Fame tight end’s work ethic and dedication to his craft are huge reasons for his success.

“He really does [know the game well],” Arians said. “And he works his tail off. I mean, he’s here early, he leaves late. He doesn’t leave anything unturned in his preparation. He’s meticulous, just like Tom [Brady]. I think that’s why he’s one of Tom’s favorite players.”

Gronkowski finished the game with eight catches on eight targets for 90 yards and two touchdowns.

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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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ScottC543
7 days ago

Without Gronk we don’t win this game.

Dman
Reply to  ScottC543
7 days ago

Yup.

drdneast
7 days ago

I know I have been hard on Licht in the past, expecially after we wasted our second round pick on an uncooked quater pounder this year, but he really should be thrown in prison for grand theft.
Stealing two All Pros, one of them the GOAT, of the quality of TB12 and Gronk for a fourth or fifth round pick has to be the crime of the century.

Kimba
Reply to  drdneast
7 days ago

Truth but also we could of used another corner in the second round(trade up with other picks used to get a high 2nd round). Trask should never of been the pick–will never be another Brady. Hope I am wrong on this.

aredsoxfan1
Reply to  Kimba
7 days ago

Well of course he’s never going to be another Brady. We may never see another “Brady” in the NFL for 100 years. I would say the bar for Trask is considerably lower than being the Goat. He was the last pick of the second round. I would be happy with him becoming a middle of the pack NFL QB, something akin to Cousins, Carr, Garopollo. To me, he would be a terrific pick if he turned out like that in a few years.

Spitfire
Reply to  Kimba
6 days ago

See I’m hoping Trask is gonna take the amazing things he did at Florida, learn everything from the GOAT for the next couple years, then come out a top 5/10 QB right outta the gate when he gets the chance. But that’s just me as a diehard Bucs Fan 🤷‍♂️

NaplesFan2.0
Reply to  drdneast
7 days ago

I guess this statement has a lot to do with how much one likes quarter pounders. I for one, am a big mac fan. Hopefully Trask develops into better fast food.

compewterpirate
7 days ago

Actually, both Gronk’s TD’s displayed a similar level of footballing IQ, an in-line block followed by a quick release and the smarts to find the gap in the defense. Obviously on the first TD Brady had to roll out, but he read the coverages perfectly on both occasions. Sometimes the apparent simplicity of a play leaves the sophistication behind it hidden from view until one looks at the tape again, or until the nuances of the play are explained by one of the participants. The chemistry between TB12 and Gronk (and AB also) was outstanding, a joy to watch.

bucballer
Reply to  compewterpirate
7 days ago

Yes CP! I agree! And listen I got to tell u something. Gronk is an excellent receiver in traffic! The concentration he shows catching the ball with 2 or 3 players hanging all over him is just a marvel to watch. I have a new found respect for Gronks all around solid game. They sometimes portray him as dense or a big goof. But, Gronk is crazy like a fox. He knows where the crease is and how to sit down in it. It’s amazing to watch the trust and familiarity Brady and Gronk have. Legendary indeed!

Kimba
7 days ago

Jon Ledyard you called it best of any and all analysts–you predicted a Bucs win if Bucs don’t beat themselves–you were the only one even slightly aware of the potential of a Bucs loss. After penalties and fumbles/turnovers we may of lost this game except for the excellence of Tom Brady and Ryan Succop in the final series. Credit where credit is due.

aredsoxfan1
7 days ago

As wonderful as it was to see the Brady Gronk connection, that type of usage with Gronk won’t work with Gronk over the entirety of the season. If we want Gronk to look like that in the postseason, he’s going to need to get some rest along the way, especially with the extra game this year. But I’m confident BA will make the necessary adjustments during the season. This team should have some easy games along the way where Gronk can get some rest.

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