Patriots face more adversity, as Rob Gronkowski won't play Thursday

A New England Patriots team that has looked more vulnerable than it has in years was dealt another blow on Thursday, when it was determined tight end Rob Gronkowski won’t play against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

The 2-2 Patriots will be without their all-world tight end against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers due to a thigh injury, according to Ian Rapoport of NFL Network, and that doesn’t help. The Patriots’ biggest issue has been defense, but being without Gronkowski will make it tougher to win a high-scoring game. Gronkowski has 318 yards and two touchdowns in four games this season.

Gronkowski’s talent is obvious, but the issue with him is always health. The last time Gronkowski played all 16 games in a season was 2011. He played in just eight games last season, eventually undergoing season-ending back surgery. He looked healed from that early on this season, and then had another injury pop up.

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Gronkowski reportedly made the trip to Tampa Bay, but apparently didn’t make enough progress to play on a short week. Dwayne Allen will take his place as the top tight end.

New England isn’t in a must-win situation this early in the season, but it would be nice for the Patriots to start looking like the championship team most people thought they’d be. Perhaps that happens on Thursday night, but being without Gronkowski increases the degree of difficulty.

New England Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski will miss Thursday night’s game against Tampa Bay. (AP)

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Frank Schwab is the editor of Shutdown Corner on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at or follow him on Twitter!