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Jeff Howe: Patriots TE Rob Gronkowski expected to play against Cardinals

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According to the Boston Herald’s beat writer, Gronkowski should be good to go.

Entering the 2016 opening day matchup against the Arizona Cardinals, the New England Oatriots are already missing starting quarterback Tom Brady. This, in turn, puts more pressure on the other leaders on offense. One of them is the second best player on the Patriots: tight end Rob Gronkowski.

However, the league’s premier tight end is dealing with issues of his own; namely a hamstring injury that kept Gronkowski out of practice and preseason three weeks. While he returned to practice two days ago, he told reporters tosay that he is not yet 100% healthy; putting his status for Sunday’s game in question.

Gronkowski noted that the coaches would have to make the ultimate decision. According to Jeff Howe, it is expected to be a positive one:

Right now, Rob Gronkowski (hamstring) is expected to play Sunday against the Cardinals barring an unexpected setback, per 2 sources.

Having Gronkowski available, albeit possibly on a limited snap count, would be a huge boost for New England’s offense led by first-time starter Jimmy Garoppolo. Not only does he create mismatches in the passing game, he also is one of the best blocking tight ends in the game.

In short: the Patriots offense would benefit massively from having Gronkowski available on Sunday.