by Hal Bent | Posted on Wednesday, December 11th, 2013
The New England Patriots faced the Cleveland Browns on a cold December afternoon in Foxboro MA in a matchup that the Patriots were expected to win going away. Instead, the Patriots won and lost. In what can only be called a Pyrrhic Victory, the Patriots won the game but lost their most dynamic offensive weapon. After suddenly looking like a Super Bowl competitor after defeating Denver a few weeks ago, the question now is: Can the New England Patriots Make a Playoff Run After Losing Rob Gronkowski?
The Patriots, like most other teams in the NFL this season, have faced a slew of injuries. Tight end Rob Gronkowski is just the latest in a long line of injured stars. From defensive tackles Vince Wilfork and Tommy Kelly and linebacker Jerod Mayo, to offensive lineman Sebastian Vollmer lost for the season. Gronkowski already missed a big chunk of the season along with running back Shane Vereen and safety Steve Gregory, and rookie wide receivers Kenbrell Thompkins and Aaron Dobson have missed time recently with injuries, as has Vollmer’s replacement Marcus Cannon. In the secondary, besides Gregory there have been injuries to cornerbacks Alfonzo Dennard, Aqib Talib, and Kyle Arrington.
Despite the rash of injuries, the Patriots sit at 10-3 and on top of the AFC East, just as it seems to happen each season regardless of the cast around quarterback Tom Brady and coached up by head coach Bill Belichick. As the team is forced once again to adapt to not having Gronkowski for the rest of this season and probably part of next season, the Patriots need to get their offense back in gear and be able to convert third downs, extend drives, and convert trips in the red zone into touchdowns.
For offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels, it is back to the drawing board to try and get the offense consistency. Even with Gronkowski, the Patriots offense has suffered from crippling bouts of poor execution. Against Denver, Houston, and Cleveland in consecutive weeks the offense was impotent in the first half before turning it around at halftime to drive to victory...http://www.h4-entertainment.com/2013/12/can-the-new-england-patriots-make-a-playoff-run-after-losing-rob-gronkowski/