“THE IRREPLACEABLE MUST BE REPLACED”
Tom Brady’s stats in the last five meetings with the Jets: 117/173, 1,483 yards, 12 TDs
Rob Gronkowski’s stats in those five meetings: 20 catches, 248 yards, 4 TDs
Aaron Hernandez’s stats in those five meetings: 23 catches, 303 yards, 1 TD
Combined: 43 catches, 551 yards, 5 TDs
In the last five games against the Jets, Tom Brady has completed 37% of his total passes to either Rob Gronkowski or Aaron Hernandez. He’s also thrown 37% of his yards to the duo. They’ve hauled in almost half of Brady’s touchdown passes.
With Gronkowski out for at least the next several weeks and Hernandez availability still uncertain, somebody needs to step up. Though the box scores by themselves indicate only a couple big games from the tight end duo, the added numbers don’t lie: they account for a good chunk of Tom Brady’s production. At first glance, Hernandez may stick out a bit more than Gronkowski, which makes his possible return on Thursday important. The Patriots are simply a more unpredictable team with Hernandez would can line up practically anywhere in the backfield and is a linebacker’s nightmare with his shiftiness even if his ankle isn’t 100%. Hernandez will help to move the ball down the field, yet the Patriots will still need to replace Gronkowski’s production in the red zone. Being without Gronkowski hurts enough from a strategic point-of-view as he is a match-up nightmare for defenses and the complete package as an offensive player, but he is the target that makes Brady’s life easier in the red area. Gronkowski hasn’t posted his gaudiest numbers against the Jets, but four touchdowns don’t lie. The Patriots either need someone like Daniel Fells or Visanthe Shiancoe to step up or they’ll need to become craftier in order to finish off drives.