According to NFL Insider Jordan Schultz, Bucs TE Rob Gronkowski will miss his third consecutive game on Thursday night against the Eagles. The veteran tight end suffered fractured ribs and a lung injury in the team’s Week 3 loss to the Rams. Gronkowski was not placed on injured reserve, but will miss three games anyway.

The news does not come as a major surprise. Gronkowski had not participated in either Bucs walkthrough practice on Monday or Tuesday. The 32 year-old has a substantial injury history, and playing him before he was 100 percent ready seemed foolish. The Bucs have missed Gronkowski as a blocker, but have plenty of weapons in the passing game to carry the load. On the season, Gronkowski has 16 catches for 184 yards and four touchdowns.

In Week 5, O.J. Howard surpassed Cam Brate in snaps for the first time this season, 44 to 28. Howard caught two passes for 19 yards, while Brate managed one reception for 12 yards. Third string tight end Codey McElroy entered the game late, but dropped his only target. Backup tackle Josh Wells has also filled in as an extra blocker, heavy personnel tight end.

It is widely expected that Gronkowski will return in Week 7 against the Chicago Bears. The Bucs host the Bears on Sunday, October 24 at 4:25 pm.

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About the Author: Jon Ledyard

Jon Ledyard is'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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10 days ago

Better off letting him rest another 10 days before the next game. Hopefully Winfield makes it back for Thursday.

10 days ago

Most crack ribs take 4 to 6 weeks. Good idea to rest him and push OJ onto the field to show us as a first round pick, where does he belong on the team. Maybe be all OJ needs to perform at a high level is knowing you are the first one on the field, not waiting around if your number got called.

Reply to  Eddie
9 days ago

Howard is pretty good at running routes and pass catching, but he has a ways to go to get as good as Gronk is at pass and run blocking. Yet at the same time, Arians lavishly praised our pass and run blocking last Sunday, of which OJ was a key part (he played nearly all of our offensive snaps). Fans seem to focus only on the guys who touch the ball, and not the guys who make plays off the ball.

Last edited 9 days ago by Naplesfan
10 days ago

Is OJ willing to put in the work and film study to make him become that 1000 yard receiving TE? It just hasn’t seemed to have clicked quite yet for him. The physical and athletic skills he has. Does he have the mental toughness it takes to become one of the best TEs in NFL? This fan hopes he does!

Reply to  bucballer
9 days ago

He’s not going to get to 1,000 yards on a team with so many guys who are great as receivers. A guy like Kelce can get there when he is the main receiving option, or only has to share that role with one other guy. What matters for a tight end is not total receiving yards, but the total package. Tight ends mostly block, and get only a few targets a game, if any. And getting key receptions is more important than total yards. Gronk is a great example – he didn’t get anywhere near 1,000 yards last season, but… Read more »

9 days ago

As much as we need all hands on deck, unless it’s a big do or die game, definitely better to let injured players wait till they are ready to go. I would always rather miss them an extra week than have them come back to early and end up losing them for the rest of the season.