Tight end Rob Gronkowski has struggled in his comeback with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. In two games back, he has a total of two catches for 11 yards. Photo by @AZAuthority (Twitter).
- Rob Gronkowski’s odds of winning NFL Comeback Player of the Year have slid from +350 to +1400 since the season launched
- In Week 2, Gronkowski went through a full game without a catch for only the fifth time in his career
- See the full CPOY odds and analysis in the story below
Rob Gronkowski has fallen to seventh among favorites to win the NFL’s Comeback Player of the Year in 2020, now sitting at a distant +1400.
The Buccaneers had high expectations after enticing Gronk out of his one-season retirement to be in new quarterback Tom Brady’s receiving corps. But Gronkowski, 31, is out-of-step, looking nothing like he did when he was Brady’s favorite target with the New England Patriots.
Beastly Gronkowski was a +350 favorite to win CPOY after signing with Tampa Bay in April. His two-catch performance against Carolina dropped his Week 1 CPOY odds to +850.
2020 NFL Comeback Player of the Year Odds
|Ben Roethlisberger (Steelers)||+300|
|Cam Newton (Patriots)||+300|
|Alex Smith (Washington)||+850|
|JJ Watt (Texans)||+850|
|Matt Stafford (Lions)||+850|
|AJ Green (Bengals)||+1400|
|Rob Gronkowski (Buccaneers)||+1400|
|Myles Garrett (Browns)||+2000|
|Andy Dalton (Cowboys)||+3300|
|Antonio Brown (Free agent)||+3300|
|Bradley Chubb (Broncos)||+3300|
|Nick Foles (Bears)||+3300|
|CJ Mosley (Jets)||+5000|
|Jared Goff (Rams)||+5000|
|Adam Thielen (Vikings)||+6000|
|Akiem Hicks (Bears)||+6000|
|DeSean Jackson (Eagles)||+6000|
|Joe Flacco (Jets)||+6000|
|Jordan Reed (49ers)||+6000|
|Juan Thornhill (Chiefs)||+6000|
|Keanu Neal (Falcons)||+6000|
|Kwon Alexander (49ers)||+6000|
|Malcom Butler (Titans)||+6000|
|Stephen Gostkowski (Titans)||+6000|
Odds as of Sept. 21st at FanDuel.
Gronk Hasn’t Caught Up to the Speed of Play
In nine years in New England, Gronkowski was usually Tom Brady’s best option and favorite target. Thanks to superior anticipation and instincts, Gronkowski was a half-step ahead of his coverage. In 100 starts, he had 521 catches, including 79 touchdown grabs.
In two games with Tampa Bay, Gronkowski seems like a poor option. He hasn’t recovered his game speed. Brady has only sent three passes his way in two games, and Gronkowski caught two.
Brady to Gronk 😤😤🔥🔥 pic.twitter.com/WDJL5aKzMT
— Jordan Dajani (@JordanDajani) September 20, 2020
Instead of being Brady’s go-to guy, Gronkowski is Brady’s ninth-best option, according to statistics. Brady has targeted Tampa Bay’s other tight end, OJ Howard, nine times for five receptions and one touchdown. Brady is mostly inclined to target his two big-play wide receivers . He has thrown 14 times to Mike Evans in two games and seven times to Chris Godwin in the one game he has played.
Gronk has work to do if he wants to grab a greater share of Brady’s tosses.
2020 NFL MVP Odds Tracker
Arians Unconcerned About Gronk’s slow start
As fans have started to wonder whether the Buccaneers made a mistake by luring Gronkowski back to the NFL, coach Bruce Arians doesn’t seem alarmed.
“We’re not throwing the ball 50 times to tight ends – that’s what we have receivers for [and] that’s the way our offense is built,” Arians said. “Gronk’s playing great run blocking in the fourth quarter, so I’m not concerned with his pass catches or his targets.”
But the Buccaneers didn’t sign him just to block. Arians says the Buccaneers don’t force the ball to anyone. But considering Brady’s familiarity with Gronkowski, he would be throwing to him if he were open.
“I don’t think (defenses are) paying that much attention to him.”
Bruce Arians addresses Rob Gronkowski’s notable lack of production in the Bucs’ offense:@NissanUSAhttps://t.co/XUFCD6NwQC
— NBC Sports Boston (@NBCSBoston) September 21, 2020
Can Gronk Put His Game Back Together?
Based on his career, pride will carry Gronk to improved play. He doesn’t rely solely on physical tools. He understands the game.
It’s not surprising the Buccaneers like his blocking. While trying to get his game in sync, Gronkowski made sure his blocking was first rate.
You know Gronkowski is talking to Brady to get his take on what is holding him back. Expect improved production in Week 3.
I’m doing yard work so I can’t watch but I see Brady is firing on all cylinders, but maybe the box score is wrong because I don’t see any stats for Rob Gronkowski? Must be an error
— Tony LoConte (@BradyDisciple) September 20, 2020
Quarterbacks Are the Best Bets to Win CPOY
Ben Roethlisberger and Cam Newton, both at +300, are good value. Based on history and New England’s expected success this season, Newton seems like the best bet.
Quarterbacks (Ryan Tannehill and Andrew Luck) have won this award the last two seasons and eight of the last 14 years. Plus, Gronkowski already won this award in 2014. That could impact voters’ thinking.
Kevin Allen has covered most major events, including the Olympics, Super Bowl, World Series, NBA Finals and Stanley Cup Final. He covered the NHL for USA Today from 1986-2020, receiving the Lester Patrick Award in 2013 and was honored by the Hockey Hall of Fame in 2014 with the Elmer Ferguson Award.