Jason Garrett: Cowboys ‘would never just put one guy’ on Gronkowski

Sep 27, 2015; Foxborough, MA, USA; New England Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski (87) on the sideline as they take on the Jacksonville Jaguars in the second half at Gillette Stadium. The Patriots defeated the the Jacksonville Jaguars 51-17.
David Butler II-USA TODAY Sports

By Doug Kyed

Dallas Cowboys head coach Jason Garrett took some pressure off rookie defensive back Byron Jones on Wednesday. Garrett said covering New England Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski won’t rest solely on Jones’ shoulders.

That’s good news for the 6-foot-1, 198-pound UConn product, who has impressed through four games, but seems unmatched to shadow the 6-foot-6, 265-pound Gronkowski.

“It is our challenge,” Garrett said. “(Rob) Gronkowski is a really good football player, and we would never just put one guy on him. We have to try and slow their offense down a lot of different ways. He is a big part of their offense.

“Just speaking towards Byron, he has done a really good job. He is a young player, he hasn’t been in a lot of these situations yet, but he was both a safety and a corner in college. He is a very good athlete. He is a mature guy and he hasn’t shied away from anything, whether it is a rep against a really good player in training camp or opportunities in the first part of the season, he always goes at it 100 percent. He is not tentative; not shy. He is a physical player and he’s got some ability. He’s learning as he goes, but I think he is capable of doing a lot of different things and I think his approach has been really good.”

It likely will be a combination of Jones, cornerbacks Morris Claiborne and Brandon Carr, safety Barry Church and linebacker Sean Lee — if his concussion is cleared — who will cover Gronkowski. Lee is best suited to cover the big tight end, but it’s unlikely he’ll split out when Gronkowski lines up at wide receiver, since the linebacker will be needed on run defense.

Gronkowski has proven he’s impossible to stop altogether, so the Cowboys can only hope to limit the big tight end’s production. Gronkowski has 16 catches for 308 yards with four touchdowns in three games this season.


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