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Rob Gronkowski's health
Rob Gronkowski's career has been about big numbers. In 2011, that meant 90 catches and 17 touchdowns. In 2012 and so far in 2013, the big number is four -- as in he's about to have a fourth surgery on his twice-fractured left forearm. A post-surgical infection made the third procedure necessary, and the fourth is reportedly to replace a metal plate in his arm. While Gronk is expected to return as training camp starts, should the Patriots be worried about his ability to stay healthy? Vote below!
The ''breath of fresh air'' storyline is a pretty common one whenever a struggling team gets a new coach. It generally goes like this: The old system that the previous (unsuccessful) coach used was a busted relic, while the system the new (and hopefully successful) coach is cooking up is a work of genius. Most of the time, it's pure hype, but in the case of the Eagles, who seem to be buying into Chip Kelly's fast-break system, there might be something to it. Kelly already has influenced pro offenses with his hurry-up style devised when he was Oregon's coach. We would appreciate you not bringing this up a year from now, in the event Kelly's offense doesn't quite translate to the NFL.
Last season's Eagles looked demoralized as they went 4-12, but a new game plan could turn them around quickly, considering the talent they possess.
Normally, the Patriots are pretty strong at tight end -- one might argue that they have the best 1-2 punch in the league -- but there's reason for concern heading into this season. Rob Gronkowski's battling a mysterious arm infection, and Aaron Hernandez will miss significant time in the preseason after having shoulder surgery. It's difficult to imagine the modern Patriots without a huge emphasis on their tight end passing game, but they might have to make do if neither player can stay healthy.
The modern Patriots are nearly always on the short list of preseason Super Bowl contenders, but if their tight ends are at less than 100 percent, they might be in for a disappointment.
When he's healthy, Rob Gronkowski is probably the best tight end in football. ''When he's healthy'' being the key phrase here -- Gronkowski has had several injuries that caused him to miss key games in his career, and reports of a possible fourth surgery on his left forearm don't seem to bode well for his future robustness. The Patriots are known for their punishing passing attack, but without a healthy Gronk, they're just not the same team.
All three of the Patriots' marquee receiving threats have had injury issues. Danny Amendola missed nearly all of the 2011 season, while Aaron Hernandez has never played the entirety of a 16-game season.