Tony Gonzalez: Patriots can win without Gronkowski because they are a ‘well oiled machine’

Video Details

Tony Gonzalez and Kristine Leahy join Colin Cowherd and Jason Whitlock to discuss Rob Gronkowski's concussion and whether the Patriots need him to be able to win the Super Bowl.

- Is it possible, Whitlock? Is actually an overrated commodity?

- No. I don't think he's remotely overrated. He's an injured commodity. But overrated? No dice.

Rob Gronkowski, individually. Look, they lose-- their winning percentage drops when he's not there, their points per game drop when he's not there, he's valuable. Rob Gronkowski.

What I do think this proves, and Tony close your ears, the tight position is overrated in football. There is-- there's one tight end in the Hall of Fame who has a Super Bowl ring. And when Tony gets there, there won't be two. There will still only be one. And it's Shannon Sharp. And so I think the tight end position, a bit overrated.

- You know what I think it is? I think the greater the system-- a little Kawhi Leonard-- the greater the system, the less valuable the individual. If this team wasn't as well coached, like the Spurs and Popovich, Kawhi would be much more valuable if the Spurs were coached by a mediocre coach.

When the system is great-- it's like a business. The greater the business, the less valuable the individual employee. You know, I was joking before the show. I said, it's like the baked potato at a great steakhouse. If they told you, no baked potatoes tonight, you wouldn't walk out.

Now the place is be-- and I love a good baked potato. We've had, we've had a steak dinner, you know I love it. And I think there's value to him. But I think they are so well-coached, and the system is so strong, that they have proven-- good God, Brady missed a month and they won three of four.

So I, there is value to him, but I think in the red zone he has a match-up nightmare. But they win without him.

- Well, so you're kind of vegan-ish right now, right? Kind of?

- 60%.

- So then, so then you know, you can make cookies without the sugar or the butter, and all those kinds of things. You can do it, but it's better with all the sugar. So the Patriots are like that. They can do it without Rob Gronkowski, but it's so much better.

And when you look at this, Tom Brady's passer rating this year is 102.8. When he's targeting Gronkowski, it's 117. So that's a big difference. And it's like saying when the Patriots were without Tom Brady and they went 3-1. Oh well is Brady then overrated? No. They can make it work, but it's a lot better when you have all the pieces.

- He's hard to prepare for.

- Yeah, he's hard to prepare-- he's a match up nightmare, especially down in the red zone. And I feel like I was kind of that same way. That's where I added most of my value was down in that red zone.

At the very least, even if-- because if you go one on one, he's going to exploit you. If you go-- and if you put two people on him, a guy like Tom Brady is going to shred you apart. I don't think he's overrated.

Or the tight end position is overrated, let me get back to that. Because, first of all, they are the second lowest paid position in all the NFL, next to kickers. And fullbacks too. So, I don't think that's an overrated position.

Gronkowski in this offense, you're right. Bill Belichick, I've always said it. And I love Tom Brady. And I love everything about the New England Patriots. But it's Bill Belichick. They are just a well oiled machine.

And they do well when Bill-- when Matt Cassel comes in. Look at the quarterbacks that have come out of the New England Patriots system. They go other places, they can't match that productivity--

- Same with the coordinators.

- Coordinators, coaches, it's Bill Belichick. That's the only thing that makes the most sense. He is the guy that makes this thing go. Gronkowski, great piece. Just like you said, he's good-- it's a good cookie. But I'd rather have the cookie with the butter and the cream.


- The other thing. They have become fairly adaptable because he's hurt so often. You know, I mean this is something now-- I mean we're all football fans. You kind of expect Gronk to miss about four games a year. So I think they're just used to dealing with Gronkowski, at some point week 8 through 12, being banged up.

- They're used to dealing with most of their players being banged up at some point or not available.

- I mean, their system-- you know, here's their system. Last year Chris Hogan was great in the AFC championship, non-factor in the Super Bowl. So Danny Amendola was great against Jacksonville, he'll be a non-factor in the Super Bowl.

They have made of a living on-- you have no idea who's going to be our star. Super Bowl is James White. And by the way, then the season starts, nobody throws the James White.

So I think part of their adaptability is we have him or not, you have no ideas in this Super Bowl who to go to Vegas and bet your prop bet on. Who's going to be their star?

- Well if Gronk is out there, he's going to be a big-- I think six straight playoff games, he's caught a touchdown pass. He's been very good when he's out on the field.

But Tony, we'll end with this, if Gronk doesn't play, and you-- let's say you know that Wednesday this week, does that change your opinion in any way about whether the Patriots are going to win the game?

- No, no. No it doesn't. Because when Jacksonville, when that hit came in that game last-- in the AFC championship, when he went out. I said, and I have the text to prove it. I'm not just talking here. That this offense might get better now without Gronkowski being there.

First of all, Jacksonville Jaguars were prepared all week for that package. Was all around Gronkowski. And they were putting down-- they were stopping him. And then, then he started forcing it to him three times in a row. And then he got hurt.

And then the offense just exploded. It got better. They started moving the ball up and down against that great defense. I'm just telling you, sometimes taking away a guy's best player, his blanket, it forces you to open things up. And Tom Brady is one-- probably the best ever at doing that.