Yes, Rob Gronkowski has established himself as one of the best tight ends in the game.
And yes, Gronkowski has been an invaluable weapon for the always-imposing Patriots offense.
But no, playing without the man they call Gronk is not a death knell for the Pats' Super Bowl hopes. Not according to Tom Brady, at least.
The Pats have confirmed that Gronkowski will miss the remainder of the postseason after breaking his arm on Sunday against the Texans. But Brady, who managed to survive for five games earlier this season when Gronkowsi was out with the same injury--the tight end originally broke his arm against the Colts in late November--said on Monday that the Pats will survive without Gronk once again. And the tight end's earlier absence is a big reason why, according to Brady.
"Well, we know now [how to manage without Gronkowski]," Brady said while speaking to WEEI radio in Boston. "We know the types of packages we'll use and what we'll do and the different ways we'll try to find some weakness in the defense based on our groups and so forth."
Added Brady: "That's what [offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels] does better than anybody else that I've been around--his ability to adjust like he's done all season. That's just the way it's gone. I think we've played a bunch of games now, we've never really been fully healthy, and obviously now won't be, but you know what? We've still got a very good team and there's different guys that step up and make those big time plays. ... They've got to stop all of us, and that's what we've got to continue to do this week."
Brady and the Pats take on the Ravens in the AFC Championship Game on Sunday. Kickoff is set for 6:30 p.m. - Tim Hyland