How An Injured Rob Gronkowski Helped The Patriots Beat The Saints Without Playing A Single Snap

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Rob Gronkowski

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New England Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski has yet to play in 2013, but he had a hand in yesterday's big 30-27 win over the New Orleans Saints.

Gronkowski had been practicing all week with the scout team. His main job: pretending to be Saints tight end Jimmy Graham.

Tom Brady told Sports Illustrated Peter King:

"[Gronkowski] has definitely given all he could in practice, especially on the scout teams to replicate the other teams’ best receiver. Though they may seem insignificant during the week, they are a huge reason why teams win."

Fox's Troy Aikman was the first to bring it up. He pointed out that Bill Belichick's strategy against New Orleans was to eliminate Graham completely — a tall task considering he came in averaging more than 7 catches and 115 yards per game.

Graham finished the game with zero catches. Drew Brees — who is behind only Peyton Manning in the NFL quarterback hierarchy — had his worst game of the year.

Aikman credited Gronkowski for being the Jimmy Graham doppelganger all week (via SI):

"So the Patriots couldn’t have gotten a better look for having to face Jimmy Graham this week than what Rob Gronkowski showed them … When Bill Belichick decides he’s going to take someone out of the game, he does it as well as anybody. The key coming into this game for New England was trying to slow down and eliminate Jimmy Graham. That has happened."

There were rumors over the weekend that Grokowski's teammate were growing tired of his prolonged recovery from dual arm and back injuries.

But it appears he's still helping the team in some significant ways.



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