New England Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski makes so many impactful plays as a defender’s worst nightmare, he’s larger than life.
And growing even larger, according to Indianapolis Colts safety Mike Adams, the AFC’s Defensive Player of the Week.
“There’s not much you can do to a guy his size and stature,” Adams said Wednesday of the upcoming challenge of the Colts trying to guard the 6-6, 265-pound tight end on Sunday night.
“I’m all every bit of 5-11 and he’s 6-9 or something.”
“Gronk” probably hasn’t grown three inches in official height, but the three-time Pro Bowl star’s reputation as a game-changer precedes him. Gronkowski, 26, has caught 20 passes for 375 yards and four TDs in four Patriots wins this season.
Single cover him with a safety or cornerback and he has the size and strength to get open. Double him with a linebacker underneath and defensive back over top and he has the speed an uncanny ability to find a way to get open. It only takes a matter of seconds for quick-throwing quarterback Tom Brady to exploit a mismatch.
In 69 regular-season games, Gronkowski has 328 receptions for 4,754 yards and 58 TDs. No, 58 touchdowns isn’t a misprint.
“If you say that ‘Gronk’ is not going to catch a ball, who in this locker room would bet that?” Adams asked. “No one. He is who he is. He’s a great player.”
In two wins against the Colts last season, including 45-7 in January’s AFC Championship Game, Gronkowski had a combined seven receptions for 99 yards and two scores. In 2012, he caught seven passes for 137 yards and two scores in another blowout win over the Colts.
Adams said the Colts must concentrate on tackling him as quickly as possible when he makes plays.
The Colts (3-2) are eight-point underdogs at home against the Patriots (4-0), who have won the previous four meetings by an average of 29 points.
Say this for Adams, though. He’s confident and excited about taking on the defending Super Bowl champions at Lucas Oil Stadium. Adams intercepted two passes, made five tackles and had two passes defended in a win at Houston to win the AFC Defensive Player of the Week honor for the first time in his 12-year career.
“I’m hyped every game. Every game, I’m hyped,” Adams said. “If you see me out there, I’m like a little kid. I will be excited when 12 (Brady) comes in here. I’m not even going to lie. I can’t sugarcoat that.
“I know you all get all these politically correct answers all the time, but I’m excited to see 12 and 87 (Gronkowski) come here because it’s a challenge. I love to compete. We know it’s going to be good competition and a good game when it gets here.”
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