After three straight seasons ending with significant injuries does Rob Gronkowski need to change his style of play to avoid so many big hits?
Jason: I'm not sure there are any changes he could make other than spending less time with his big blue ox. He's a big target not only for Brady, but for defenders trying to take him down by any means necessary. He plays exceptionally hard, but if you take that away from him, he becomes less Gronk and more Alge Crumpler. He's just going to be a giant talent with a giant injury risk that doesn't justify his giant contract.
Raj: Sadly, I think it's time. After 3 seasons, we get it. He's big and likes to play like a big guy. But now players have figured he's very injury prone and usually take advantage. I think if Gronk wants to protect his career, he ought to start changing up the way he plays. McDaniels can only call the plays but the way Gronk decides to execute those plays is on him. Given that, if he can make the catches in a more efficient, less risky way, then I say he should make the switch. However, this is obviously going to take some time. I'd love to see it happen though. You never know what could happen.
Derek: While part of me is giddy when I'm watch three defenders hang all over Gronk while he shrugs them off and keeps marching down the field, there's always a part of me that is secretly terrified that he's about to sustain another major injury. Part of what makes Gronk so great is that he's an ogre who plays with reckless abandon. He often dishes out as much punishment to defenders as he receives. However, there's no denying that playing this way would certainly increase the odds of an injury occurring.
Much has been made about Gronkowski's style of play and the impact it's had on his ability to remain on the field. However, I refuse to put him in the same boat as Danny Amendola. Amendola is a smaller guy who has a penchant for absorbing contact from defenders and thus ends up with broken collar bones and concussions. Gronk plays just as aggressively, but has an entirely different build. He's been hit with some bad injuries the past three seasons, but I wouldn't attribute any of them to playing "too hard". The Bernard Pollard ankle injury was not due to aggressive play on Gronk's part. Breaking his forearm twice last season was initially a freak accident. Maybe you could argue that he shouldn't have been making a diving catch on the second break, but I wouldn't call that a reckless play. This past Sunday, there was little he could have done to avoid getting his knee blown out. All in all, it's hard to say any of these injuries were his fault or even due to him being "injury prone". They were just a series of bad breaks that unfortunately may have cost the Pats a Super Bowl or two.