2018 Gronk Watch

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kenneycb

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Why don’t you give a crap about TD catches? Especially since he has always been an amazing red zone target and now he’s anything but.
 

InstaFace

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Why don’t you give a crap about TD catches? Especially since he has always been an amazing red zone target and now he’s anything but.
Before I answer for him, answer me this so we're on the same page: Why do we dismiss low-N quirks in other sports statistics contexts with "small sample size!"? What is it about small sample sizes that make them dismiss-able?
 

SMU_Sox

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I do not care about fantasy sports for the purpose of this discussion. Admittedly I haven’t rewatched any games and probably caught maybe 4-5 of the Chiefs games. Gronk has certainly had his moments this year. Going into the year I would have said Gronk. He’s still a great tight end this year even a little stiff and hobbled. I’d put Gronk behind one guy for a hypothetical rest of the year, Kelce. Kelce is healthier and has played better this year. Even if Gronk rebounds and takes back that #1 spot he has the greater injury concern. That’s why it’s Kelce to me. But only Kelce. We’re talking about who has the better A paper here.
 

Papelbon's Poutine

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I do not care about fantasy sports for the purpose of this discussion. Admittedly I haven’t rewatched any games and probably caught maybe 4-5 of the Chiefs games. Gronk has certainly had his moments this year. Going into the year I would have said Gronk. He’s still a great tight end this year even a little stiff and hobbled. I’d put Gronk behind one guy for a hypothetical rest of the year, Kelce. Kelce is healthier and has played better this year. Even if Gronk rebounds and takes back that #1 spot he has the greater injury concern. That’s why it’s Kelce to me. But only Kelce. We’re talking about who has the better A paper here.
Pretty much this. I don’t even play fantasy so it’s got shit to do with that. If I take one for rest of season it’s Kelce, if for no other reason than I expect him to be on the field more. I don’t think Gronk is toast, but he’s clearly banged up.
 

pokey_reese

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1.) I don't have a fantasy football interest. In fact, this is the first year I haven't played at all in a while.

2.) At least for Football Outsiders, he is ranked 10th this year, after being 1st last year, 7th the year before, 2nd the year before that, 1st the year before that, etc. In fact, this is easily his worst even moderately healthy year.

3.) I think that his lack of TDs and red zone opportunities is in part specifically because he isn't the matchup nightmare he was in the past. If Brady saw him single covered in the red zone by an LB or smaller safety in years past, it was a no-brainer to throw to him because he could get himself open. This year, I haven't seen him getting separation against slower guys, or being able to go up and over smaller guys. It doesn't mean that he isn't still a good player, but do you really think that after the last 6 years Brady suddenly doesn't want to take the available mismatch on the field any more? Isn't the more obvious answer that Gronk just isn't usually the biggest mismatch on the field in any given situation like he used to be?

4.) That said, he is still very good, and part of it is probably just that Brady has a lot of good options right now. White being awesome doesn't take away from Gronk, but these plays aren't happening in isolation, they are context-dependent and Brady just has a lot of places to put the ball these days.
 

kenneycb

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Before I answer for him, answer me this so we're on the same page: Why do we dismiss low-N quirks in other sports statistics contexts with "small sample size!"? What is it about small sample sizes that make them dismiss-able?
When there are other data points that make you think, like the low amount of red zone targets he’s getting thus year compared to years past through 9 games, which is a significant sample size IMO in football and takes into account other concerning factors that his N is only 7 (I think), which brings into account other concerns. Why isn’t he catching TDs? Because he’s not getting targets in the red zone. Why isn’t that happening? I don’t watch in enough detail to speak to but there are concerning enough answers to that question.

I think that’s what you’re asking but I’m confused because it’s unnecessarily coated in vague statistics language for some reason instead of asking me the direct question you want me to answer.
 

InstaFace

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When there are other data points that make you think, like the low amount of red zone targets he’s getting thus year compared to years past through 9 games, which is a significant sample size IMO in football and takes into account other concerning factors that his N is only 7 (I think), which brings into account other concerns. Why isn’t he catching TDs? Because he’s not getting targets in the red zone. Why isn’t that happening? I don’t watch in enough detail to speak to but there are concerning enough answers to that question.

I think that’s what you’re asking but I’m confused because it’s unnecessarily coated in vague statistics language for some reason instead of asking me the direct question you want me to answer.
Well, I wasn't being smarmy with my question. We have a lot of data points if the question is about plays that Gronk is on the field for. Something analyzing the totality of his play this year is approaching statistical significance. We have very few data points, however, if the question is about plays in which the Patriots score a touchdown (or even "could easily have scored a touchdown") that Gronk is on the field for.

But given the number of TDs that constitute a "great season" for a WR or TE or whatever, it really is statistical noise - the TDs number tells you basically nothing. He's been targeted on 43 passes this season and caught 29 of them*, for a 67.4% catch rate, above his career value of 65.8%. His Y/R is 15.4, ahead of his career average of 15.2. Those numbers mean basically nothing, they're within a fraction of a StDev of normal-to-good. But 1 of those passes was a TD, whereas in roughly the same amount of playtime in 2016, he caught 3 of them, and likewise in 7 games in 2013 he caught 4 of them. Anyone drawing conclusions off those numbers without an in-depth film study session on red zone snaps needs to get their knees checked for the jerks.

You want an explanation for it, "dumb luck" is probably leading the Family Feud board. Also in our top 5 would be "McDaniels believing the particular situation called for a different play", "Gronk was double-covered, opening up someone else", and maybe even "Belichick has been shielding Gronk from plays where he might take big hits, until and unless he's really needed in there". Let's recall that when the chips were down against KC, Gronk rumbled off a 42-yard catch-and-run to set up the FG that put us up 7, and then the 39-yard back-breaker catch-and-run that effectively iced the game and let us run it down to kick the walk-off. My conclusion is, McDaniels and Belichick have been relying on other ways to win that don't involve mashing the Gronk button, because of the risks of overuse - but they still know it's there when they need it.

* And of those 14 misses, exactly 2 were in the red zone (1Q 7:35 vs MIA - 2nd & 6 from MIA 16, and 1Q 4:54 @BUF - 3rd & Goal from BUF 7, pass defensed), and 2 were close (first play of 4Q vs JAX - incomplete bomb from JAX 26, and 3Q 2:33 vs IND - 2nd & 20 bomb from IND 25 intercepted in end zone)
 

kenneycb

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Not smarmy, just an oddly vague way to make a point that has an obvious "gotcha" post to follow (see above).

My point is that it is stupid to say "I don't care about TDs" when the lack of his TDs may mean there's a bigger issue there and we should look under the hood. It may mean nothing. It may mean something. With watching his play I tend to believe there's something there, nothing huge but something. But to say "I don't care about it" is being willfully ignorant to make a point.
 
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InstaFace

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I wouldn't call it obvious, nevermind an obvious gotcha. Most sports fans don't understand the concept of statistical significance. That's not the median expectation around here, but neither is a statistics degree, either. It's why I asked. I just realized my phrasing could easily come off as condescending without an accompanying tone, so I wanted to be clear.

Gronk's "lack" of TDs (and I really don't think it's some sort of deficiency he needs to correct) means absolutely nothing to his larger performance and abilities. There may be a decline, there may not, but we learn absolutely nothing about it from the TD count after 7 games played. I assume that's why @m0ckduck said he didn't care about the figure - and I agree that he shouldn't.
 

DennyDoyle'sBoil

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Two red zone targets for a guy who averages over 1.2 per game and closer to 1.5 in full years he has played sure seems potentially statistically significant. Maybe we could find other years where this would simply reflect an expected valley among the peaks in an ordinary distribution.

7 is too small for firm conclusions, but it is worth watching and close to rising to the level of anomalous.

What it means though is a different question. It could well mean something about the team and not Gronk.
 

SirPsychoSquints

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Two red zone targets for a guy who averages over 1.2 per game and closer to 1.5 in full years he has played sure seems potentially statistically significant. Maybe we could find other years where this would simply reflect an expected valley among the peaks in an ordinary distribution.

7 is too small for firm conclusions, but it is worth watching and close to rising to the level of anomalous.

What it means though is a different question. It could well mean something about the team and not Gronk.
Yes, this is the fewest targets he's had in a 7 game stretch in his career (if I've cobbled together info correctly) - unless you count the 1 target he had from 12/31/17 through 10/14/18.

Previously in his career, the lowest 7 game targets were 3, achieved for his 7 games going into 10/31/10 (his first 7 games), 10/2/16, 10/9/16 and 10/23/16. You would probably look at 10/29/15 through 10/1/17 as a stretch of low targets.

Edit: Everything above is Red Zone Targets.
 

Super Nomario

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4.) That said, he is still very good, and part of it is probably just that Brady has a lot of good options right now. White being awesome doesn't take away from Gronk, but these plays aren't happening in isolation, they are context-dependent and Brady just has a lot of places to put the ball these days.
I would agree with you more if they were going elsewhere and having more success. Brady has 30 drop backs within the 10, and is 11 for 27 for 58 yards with 3 sacks. Their completion %, TD %, first down %, NY/A, etc. are all below average, and no QB has been sacked more in that area. If they were efficient despite throwing to Gronk, I would agree with you, but they haven't been very efficient, and they haven't been throwing to the TE at all (Gronk has one target within the 10, neither Allen nor Hollister have any). It's weird.
 

m0ckduck

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Why don’t you give a crap about TD catches? Especially since he has always been an amazing red zone target and now he’s anything but.
Others have already answered for me, but the reason I wrote this is that I don't think you can extricate anything meaningful from Gronk's lack of TD catches given: (1) small sample size; (2) the fact that defenses were draped all over him in weeks 1-3 with no other credible red zone threats on the field. It wouldn't shock me if he was in decline— he does look a step slower and a bit more banged up— but the TD catches doesn't tell us much imo.
 

Reggie's Racquet

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He's out again tomorrow.
As I posted in the gamethread...we potentially don’t need him until a week after the bye week as we play the J-E-T-S after the bye. That would give him until December 2 against Minnesota. Then at Miami...always a tough game then the very important at Pittsburg game.
 

BigSoxFan

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He's definitely not getting the incentives now.

Still think he's going to retire at the end of the year.
At this point, I would be pretty surprised if he doesn’t. I also wouldn’t be surprised if there’s an IR trip before year end. Back injuries are nasty.
 

Lose Remerswaal

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I wonder if the Pats are holding him out to make sure he's healthy for the playoffs. With the tomato cans lined up the way they are, why risk another injury?

And that there might be some sort of agreement that would make him whole, financially
 

Super Nomario

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It would be kind of nice if they used Gronk's absence as an opportunity to build some chemistry between Brady and Allen. I'm not asking for Ben Coates numbers, just like a 4 catches for 45 yards and a couple first downs would make me feel better if Gronk's issues linger all season. His current NE high is 2 catches for 26.
 

RedOctober3829

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It would be kind of nice if they used Gronk's absence as an opportunity to build some chemistry between Brady and Allen. I'm not asking for Ben Coates numbers, just like a 4 catches for 45 yards and a couple first downs would make me feel better if Gronk's issues linger all season. His current NE high is 2 catches for 26.
Allen is not even the receiver he was in Indianapolis. He looks much slower in routes than he used to.
 

RedOctober3829

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Tom E. Curran was on the Dan Patrick Show today and says he doesn't think there's any way Gronk will be a Patriot next year due to his cap hit. "They'll go as far as to wheel him out of town on a dolly if they have to." FWIW, they would save $10 million on the 2019 cap if they moved on from him.
 

Super Nomario

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Tom E. Curran was on the Dan Patrick Show today and says he doesn't think there's any way Gronk will be a Patriot next year due to his cap hit. "They'll go as far as to wheel him out of town on a dolly if they have to." FWIW, they would save $10 million on the 2019 cap if they moved on from him.
Gronk's cap hit of $12 MM is fine if he's 2017 Gronk. I guess we'll see how he finishes the year.

The other problem is a lack of alternatives. Hollister's still under contract but he hasn't done much. Allen is on the books for $7.4 MM; can't see him playing for that. They drafted Ryan Izzo in the 7th; he's more of a blocking guy. What does this team's skill position group look like next year?
 

brandonchristensen

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Gronk's cap hit of $12 MM is fine if he's 2017 Gronk. I guess we'll see how he finishes the year.

The other problem is a lack of alternatives. Hollister's still under contract but he hasn't done much. Allen is on the books for $7.4 MM; can't see him playing for that. They drafted Ryan Izzo in the 7th; he's more of a blocking guy. What does this team's skill position group look like next year?
Anyone available in the draft? Any chance Noah Fant falls far enough? Pats are well positioned to get some help there.

1x First
2x Seconds
3x Thirds
3x Sevenths

WalterFootball.com (whatever the hell that is), mocks the Pats picking up Irv Smith Jr in his draft:
http://walterfootball.com/draft2019_1.php
 

Papelbon's Poutine

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Irv Smith or the guy from Mizzou who's name I can't spell seem to be the consensus top two, from what I've seen anyway. Fant's stock has fallen, but I'm not sure if that's a usage issue or there's another reason for it.
 

BaseballJones

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I'd love to see the Pats pick up a top TE in this coming draft. I still think Gronk is a very very good tight end - still maybe the overall best in the game when blocking is factored in. When he's healthy and playing, that is. He's a bit like Pedro was though - the best in the game at his position, but never able to give you a full season (not *never*, but you get the idea). But when he was there he was SO good that it was worth paying him for a full superstar season. But it's time to get his future replacement.

As far as touchdowns go, yes clearly he's WAY down this year. And normally that's not a problem because as long as they score, who cares WHO gets the touchdowns? But the problem is that they've struggled in the red zone this year. They've failed to score touchdowns on many many occasions, sometimes in obvious scoring situations. For example, it's one thing to make it into the red zone, setting up a third and 6 from the 19. That's a much more difficult red zone opportunity than if you made a play to set up a first and goal from the 3. Obviously. So not all red zone situations are alike. But they've blown some of the latter types of red zone opportunities. Having a productive, TD-scoring, Gronk would have helped considerably.
 

BaseballJones

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Ok, so I just said that about red zone scoring. And we can all think of situations where they've failed. But here's the interesting thing, and I just looked up the data. Look at their red zone TD percentage the past few years...I'm shocked actually. Numbers from: https://www.teamrankings.com/nfl/stat/red-zone-scoring-pct (pulldown menu allows you to change the year)

2013: 58.11% (8th)
2014: 62.34% (5th)
2015: 65.22% (4th)
2016: 64.00% (10th)
2017: 62.65% (3rd)
2018: 65.71% (11th)

They are scoring TDs in the red zone at their best rate since 2012, when they were at 67.50%. It sure doesn't feel like it to me, but, well, there you go.
 

Papelbon's Poutine

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With regard to Gronk, as someone else noted, it’s not his lack of TDs that’s particularly troubling it’s his lack of targets. Either teams have figured out a way to take him away (which would be new, they never have been able to) or something is legit wrong. The latter there is obviously more troubling.
 

BaseballJones

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With regard to Gronk, as someone else noted, it’s not his lack of TDs that’s particularly troubling it’s his lack of targets. Either teams have figured out a way to take him away (which would be new, they never have been able to) or something is legit wrong. The latter there is obviously more troubling.
I haven't re-watched all the games, but I wouldn't be surprised if - especially during the first four games of the season - teams doubled Gronk constantly, knowing that Brady didn't have Edelman to rely on, and no other receiver really represented a major threat.

For his career, going into 2018, he averaged just under 7.1 targets per game. In 2018, he has averaged 6.1 targets per game.

Targets per game:
2010: 3.7
2011: 7.8
2012: 7.2
2013: 9.4
2014: 8.7
2015: 8.0
2016: 4.8
2017: 7.5
---pre 2018: 7.1
2018: 6.1

Catch %:
2010: 71.1%
2011: 72.6%
2012: 69.6%
2013: 47.8%
2014: 62.6%
2015: 60.0%
2016: 65.8%
2017: 65.7%
--pre 2018: 65.7%
2018: 67.4%

Yards per reception:
2010: 13.0
2011: 14.7
2012: 14.4
2013: 15.2
2014: 13.7
2015: 16.3
2016: 21.6
2017: 15.7
--pre 2018: 15.1
2018: 15.4

So his targets are down 1 per game. His catch % this year is better than his 2010-18 average. His yards per reception is the 4th best of his career and better than his career average up until 2018. His TDs, however, are WAY down. He averaged 9.5 touchdowns per season from 2010-2017. Just one this year.
 

DrewDawg

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Julio Jones just caught his first TD pass of the season in week 9, despite having, at the time, nearly 900 yards. Sometimes TDs can just be fluky.

Most of us, at one time or another, have said some variation of "As long as Gronk is healthy down the stretch and for the postseason, I'm good". Well, looks like we're gonna test that theory.
 

tims4wins

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Julio Jones just caught his first TD pass of the season in week 9, despite having, at the time, nearly 900 yards. Sometimes TDs can just be fluky.

Most of us, at one time or another, have said some variation of "As long as Gronk is healthy down the stretch and for the postseason, I'm good". Well, looks like we're gonna test that theory.
...assuming he actually gets healthy.
 

Papelbon's Poutine

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Very true. Also true is he has two red zone targets in seven games. White, Hogan, Edelman and Paterson all have more. It’s not just about the TD stat, in confined space he’s generally able to use his size or speed to get enough separation or a jump ball to be the primary target. I could care less about TDs themselves.

I honestly can’t speak to if he’s been staying in to block more or if defenses have found some way, but if they aren’t going to him it suggests to me there’s a physical problem. Either injury or just burning out. Ymmv.

@DrewDawg
 

BigJimEd

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I honestly can’t speak to if he’s been staying in to block more or if defenses have found some way, but if they aren’t going to him it suggests to me there’s a physical problem. Either injury or just burning out. Ymmv.
Lack of targets doesn't suggest much to me. As has been sayin in this thread there are various reasons why that might be the case.
Could be a physical issue, could also be Issues just doing something different. They are producing in the red zone so whatever they are doing it is working.

And we are still only discussing 7 games
 

Papelbon's Poutine

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Lack of targets doesn't suggest much to me. As has been sayin in this thread there are various reasons why that might be the case.
Could be a physical issue, could also be Issues just doing something different. They are producing in the red zone so whatever they are doing it is working.

And we are still only discussing 7 games
To each their own. This thread isn’t about their overall production in the red zone, it’s about Gronk. When you start ignoring the biggest and best red zone threat in the league - especially when Edelman was out for four of those games; Burkhead has been out but still has more; and they didn’t have Gordon for five of those - it suggests to me he isn’t as effective for some reason. Two targets through seven games raises a red flag for me. Hope I’m wrong.
 

BigJimEd

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To each their own. This thread isn’t about their overall production in the red zone, it’s about Gronk. When you start ignoring the biggest and best red zone threat in the league - especially when Edelman was out for four of those games; Burkhead has been out but still has more; and they didn’t have Gordon for five of those - it suggests to me he isn’t as effective for some reason. Two targets through seven games raises a red flag for me. Hope I’m wrong.
Numbers suggest to me that others have been as effective if not more than Gronk. If the team was less effective and still not targeting Gronk than I might agree with you. But their overall success rate suggests there are likely other factors involved.


Edit: And where are we getting that Gronk is the best red zone target in the league? Everything I've seen had him around 50% catch percentage in the red zone the last couple years
 
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BaseballJones

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To each their own. This thread isn’t about their overall production in the red zone, it’s about Gronk. When you start ignoring the biggest and best red zone threat in the league - especially when Edelman was out for four of those games; Burkhead has been out but still has more; and they didn’t have Gordon for five of those - it suggests to me he isn’t as effective for some reason. Two targets through seven games raises a red flag for me. Hope I’m wrong.
He might not be as effective - that's totally possible. He's 29 and has been very beat up over the course of his career. I still think that his size and strength and catch radius make him a great target, unless they're doubling him constantly.
 

tims4wins

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Numbers suggest to me that others have been as effective if not more than Gronk. If the team was less effective and still not targeting Gronk than I might agree with you. But their overall success rate suggests there are likely other factors involved.


Edit: And where are we getting that Gronk is the best red zone target in the league? Everything I've seen had him around 50% catch percentage in the red zone the last couple years
Yeah but what is the overall completion % in the red zone? It ain't 70%.

Well, we've nailed the first part--sitting out early and mid-season games.
True dat.
 

RedOctober3829

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Well, he better be ready to go against the Jets because they have 1 "healthy" TE as of right now and that's Hollister. Hollister is made of glass too.


Per source, Dwayne Allen suffered a knee injury Sunday. He won't need surgery but is expected to miss a few weeks.
 

CoffeeNerdness

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Curran on Gronk: "I don't think there's any chance he's back next year. They'll put him on a dolly and wheel him out of town if they have to." #Patriots
 

Ed Hillel

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Curran on Gronk: "I don't think there's any chance he's back next year. They'll put him on a dolly and wheel him out of town if they have to." #Patriots
I mean I don’t know. His base salary is 9 million. If he comes back and has a strong end to the season, I think they’d play out the contract. Will Gronk come back and play for 9 million might be the bigger question.
 

Papelbon's Poutine

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Numbers suggest to me that others have been as effective if not more than Gronk. If the team was less effective and still not targeting Gronk than I might agree with you. But their overall success rate suggests there are likely other factors involved.


Edit: And where are we getting that Gronk is the best red zone target in the league? Everything I've seen had him around 50% catch percentage in the red zone the last couple years
I’m not sure what you’re looking for here. Would you prefer I say ‘one of best’? Is there someone bigger I’m missing? I’m not sure how what’s up for debate. He’s over 61% reception rate, with 129 targets in red zone in 109 games with 55 tds in his career, not including playoffs. He has two targets and zero catches in seven games this year. If you don’t think that’s some kind of anomaly, then good on ya. I disagree. Something is different.
 
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