Thursday, February 2, 2012

Monster Is the New Best Thing in Tight Ends; Super Bowl May Showcase Two of Them

Whether you call him "Monster" or the more friendly, "Gronk," the 6-foot-6, 265-pound tight end Rob Gronkowski is a pretty special "freak." His 90 catches for 1,327 yards and 17 touchdowns scorched the NFL record book this year--and he's only a second-year pro. His 14.7 average yards per catch is better than the Patriots remarkable wide receivers Deion Branch and Wes Welker. New England QB Tom Brady attempted 611 passes this year and connected on 401 for 5235 yards--enough to insure that none of his talented receivers were ignored despite the rising talents of Gronkowski. New England's other tight end, Aaron Hernandez had 79 receptions for 910 yards. Although Hernandez is almost half a foot shorter than Gronkowski, but he is a powerful 245 lbs.

Gronkowski injured his left ankle in the Patriots AFC Championship game win over the Ravens and he's been nursing it the last couple weeks leading up to the Super Bowl. Returning to a light practice today, odds are Gronkowski will play in the big game.

Superfreak II

Another monster tight end is Jimmy Graham of the New Orleans Saints. Graham is in his second year as well. He had 99 catches for 1310 yards averaging 13.2 yards per catch. Graham scored 11 touchdowns and had the remarkable Drew Brees thowing his way. Brees threw for 5,476 yards, keeping things lively for all his receivers as well.

And Yet More

The Cowboys' Jason Whitten is another big tight end who spends a lot of time catching balls and has been doing it for many years. The nine-year vet has averaged just under 1000 yards for the last five seasons. Whitten is 6-6, 255 lbs.

The Giants' Giant TE

New England's Super Bowl foe, the New York Giants have a phenomenal wide receiver, Victor Cruz, who has 82 regular season receptions for 1536 yards and an 18.7 yard average. But the Giants also boast a Gronkowski-type tight end who is just getting started in 2011. Jake Ballard is 6-6, 275 lbs and has 38 receptions for 604 yards and 15.9 yard average. The Giants' QB Eli Manning threw for 4,933 yards this season, a few hundred yards less than Brady, but enough to keep his receivers busy as well.

Manning has not gone to Ballard much in the post season, but maybe with Gronkowski on the other side line, he will be inspired more to look for the big man in the big game.

Post Copyright 2012 Sporting Chance Press. Inc.
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Sporting Chance Press is the publisher of The 10 Commandments of Baseball: An Affectionate Look at Joe McCarthy's Principles for Baseball (and Life), Public Bonehead, Private Hero: The Real Legacy of Baseball's Fred Merkle, Sports and Faith: Stories of the Devoted and the Devout, and Maddie Takes the Ice.

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