It's official: Rob Gronkowski suffered a torn ACL and MCL, his 2013 season is over and the Patriots have placed him on injured reserve. The injury happened during the third quarter of Sunday's game against the Browns when safety T.J. Ward legally hit the tight end low on a downfield pass play.
Quarterback Tom Brady admitted that the offense will have to pick up the slack in Gronk's absence.
"It just shifts; you just have to find a different formula," Brady told WEEI Monday when asked how the backup tight ends will pick up the slack in Gronkowski's absence. "I think that's the important part. And Gronk provides a certain margin of error because of how talented a player he is, and the other guys play different roles for us."
There were reports that the team would re-sign tight end D.J. Williams.
"We're going to have to make do, whatever the combinations are," Brady continued. "If Gronk's not out there, we've got to try to figure those out."
Coach Bill Belichick spoke Monday about the resiliency his team will need for the remainder of the season.
“No question about it,” he said. “Very tough minded and determined group that even though as you said at times the deck has been stacked against us or it’s been things that we've had to overcome, they haven’t ever made any excuses or tried to back down from the challenge.
“They just try to meet it head-on with the best effort they can. Sometimes it’s been good enough, sometimes it hasn't,” Belichick said. “The attitude, the ability to go out there and fight and persevere and deal with whatever the circumstances are and not really get too fazed by it, but just try to deal with it, has been very impressive by the entire team this year, especially with some young guys and newer faces on the team. ...
“Overall, they've all embraced whatever the opportunity is, even though it may not look too bright,” Belichick continued. “They embrace the opportunity, try to go out there and make the best of it.”
The Patriots currently hold the No. 2 spot in the AFC, behind the Broncos. With three games left in the regular season and the Bengals breathing down their neck, New England could drop out of the second slot if they should stumble the next few weeks.