Arians not concerned by Gronk’s lack of production

Field Level Media

September 21, 2020 at 7:09 pm.

Rob Gronkowski has only two catches for 11 yards through the Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ first two games, but coach Bruce Arians’ isn’t concerned about the tight end’s lack of production in the passing game.

Gronkowski, 31, was only targeted once and did not have a catch in the Bucs’ 31-17 victory over the Carolina Panthers on Sunday. That came after catching two passes for 11 yards on four targets in the season-opening loss in New Orleans.

“We’re not throwing the ball 50 times to tight ends. That’s what we have receivers for (and) that’s the way our offense is built,” Arians said Monday. “Gronk’s playing great run blocking in the fourth quarter, so I’m not concerned with his pass catches or his targets.”

Gronkowski ended a one-year retirement to reunite with quarterback Tom Brady in Tampa. Brady has thrown 71 passes through the first two games, with only four of them intended for his long-time teammate in New England.

“I don’t think they’re paying that much attention to him,” Arians said of opposing defenses. “Tom has the ball, he decides where it’s going, so he’s reading the defenses and he’s taking whatever they’re giving him. We don’t force passes to anybody.”

Fellow tight end O.J. Howard has been targeted nine times and has five catches for 47 yards and a touchdown.

Arians also said he does not anticipate Leonard Fournette overtaking Ronald Jones for the starting running back job in the near future.

Fournette led the Bucs with 103 yards and two touchdowns on 12 carries Sunday, while Jones managed 23 yards with a score on seven carries. Fournette also had four catches to Jones’ two and was in on 43 percent of the Bucs’ offensive snaps compared to Jones’ 34 percent.

“I think everybody’s role is good right now,” Arians said when asked if Fournette might move into the starting role. “There’s no need for that. He’s still doesn’t know enough of this offense yet to be the starter.

“To have Leonard come in with fresh legs in the fourth quarter and pound it like that — very few teams have that combination.”

Arians said that wide receiver Chris Godwin has passed through the concussion protocol and will be available for this week’s game against the Denver Broncos after sitting out against Carolina.