How effective will Gronk be Thursday night?

New England Patriots

Rob Gronkowski has been cleared to play Thursday night versus the Indianapolis Colts, but how effective will the future HOFer be for the Patriots?

ESPN’s Adam Schefter has reported Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski, initially listed as questionable, will play Thursday night against the Indianapolis Colts.

The New England star tweaked his right ankle last Sunday against the Miami Dolphins and did not practice until Wednesday of this week.

This season, Gronk has faced constant double teams and the primary subject of opposing teams game plans, but he has still been somewhat productive. So far this season, Gronk has 17 catches, 233 yards and a touchdown, while his Patriots currently sit at 2-2. But if Gronk is already keyed on via gameplans, how effective will he be when he isn’t 100 percent?

What probably will take a load off Gronk in terms of expectations is the return of Julian Edelman from a four-game, league-mandated suspension for PED’s. When Tom Brady, Gronk and Edelman were on the field with each other in 2016, the trio powered an offensive attack that led to 8.9 passing yards per play. Without Gronk or Edelman in the lineup since, the Patriots are only averaging 7.1 yards per play passing.

But, Edelman hasn’t played a meaningful football game since Super Bowl 51 and hasn’t played with Gronk in nearly two years. Brady will have to work with a hobbled Gronk and a rusty Edelman: whether that will be effective is another story.

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Gronk’s health has always been a footnote on his career, and it may be time to question whether Gronk is slowly but surely deteriorating. He has yet to play a full season and suffered season-ending injuries in 2013 and 2016. With that said, Gronk’s health mixed in with a Patriots offense that’s unsure of itself makes Thursday night an interesting game. Hopefully Gronk’s presence opens the door for Julian Edelman and Josh Gordon to succeed.

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