The New England Patriots need tight end Martellus Bennett more than ever, now that Rob Gronkowski is on the injured reserve, but Bennett was no guarantee to play this week. Bennett re-injured his ankle shortly after Gronkowski left the Jets game and needed to recover.
Well, Bennett is expected to play, per ESPN’s Adam Schefter, as are QB Tom Brady and WR Chris Hogan and WR Julian Edelman.
Four Pats listed as questionable - Tom Brady, Martellus Bennett, Julian Edelman, Chris Hogan - all good to go today vs Rams, per sources.— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) December 4, 2016
These players will be asked to compensate for the loss of Gronkowski. Bennett stepped up in Gronkowski’s role over the first four weeks of the season, while Gronkowski battled a hamstring injury, where he accumulated 15 receptions for 247 yards and a touchdown.
Hogan dealt with a back injury in weeks 10 and 11, but when healthy he’s averaged over 68 yards per game with Brady at quarterback. Hogan adds a deep threat element to the offense and will likely assume some of Gronkowski’s route tree down the field.
Edelman has been a different person since the bye week, where he’s averaged 90.3 yards per game. Part of his production is linked to Gronkowski’s injury, but Edelman is also cutting and moving in the open field better than he was earlier in the season. Edelman has been battling a foot injury all year.
Brady has been affected by a knee injury that he suffered against the Seahawks, but he is another week closer to full strength.
The Patriots need these four, along with rookie WR Malcolm Mitchell and the running game all to come together and fill the absence left by Gronkowski.