FOXBOROUGH — There is a slight disconnect between Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski and head coach Bill Belichick as to whether the former will participate in Sunday’s season opener against the Miami Dolphins.
The player says he will play, although “definitely not every snap.” The coach says Gronkowski’s participation in the game will depend on how things go in practice. Based on the injury report released by the team on Wednesday, Gronkowski begins the week as a limited participant.
Gronkowski (knee) came on slowly in training camp, beginning with 1-on-1 drills paired against Darrelle Revis, with both men running less than full speed. He participated in his first 7-on-7 work on Aug. 11, and his first 11-on-11 work in the Patriots’ final public practice of training camp on Aug. 18.
Even if Gronkowski only plays a limited number of snaps, he could still play a big role in the outcome of the game. The Patriots scored on 68.8 percent of their red zone possessions with Gronkowski in the lineup in 2013, but just 42.4 percent without him.
Defensive end Michael Buchanan (ankle), and defensive tackles Chris Jones (ankle) and Sealver Siliga (hand) were also listed as limited participants. The Patriots are not incredibly deep at defensive tackle: Vince Wilfork, Dominique Easley, and Joe Vellano are the only players on the roster who are suited to line up in the middle.