Tonight, the New England Patriots will face the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in an attempt to bring their record above .500 again. Leading up to the contest, the team released its final injury report of the week yesterday. Two players were declared inactive – Rex Burkhead and Eric Rowe – while another one was a surprise addition: Rob Gronkowski, who was listed as “questionable” with a thigh injury.
According a report by the Boston Herald's Jeff Howe yesterday, the NFL's best tight end did make the trip to Tampa despite his injury. And as NFL Network's Ian Rapoport added earlier today, Gronkowski is expected to play:
#Patriots TE Rob Gronkowski (thigh), a late addition to the injury report, is expected to play. But he figures to be limited some vs #Bucs
With the 28-year old potentially limited tonight, offseason acquisitions Dwayne Allen and Jacob Hollister might see added snaps against the Buccaneers. Allen would likely take over Gronkowski's blocking assignments while Hollister might see more time as a potential target in the passing game – against a defense that has allowed 19 catches for 108 yards to tight ends over its first three games.
Even with Gronkowski not projected to play 100% of offensive snaps, New England's tight ends might therefore be able to make an impact – something the backups have not been able to consistently do so far this season.