Jacksonville’s strategy to stop Gronk? ‘Hope he drops it’

Rob Gronkowski
Rob Gronkowski makes a one-handed touchdown catch against the Buffalo Bills. –Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images

There have been many approaches taken when teams try to come up with a game plan to defend Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski. Jacksonville coach Doug Marrone certainly has a unique idea.

“Hope they don’t throw him the football. Hope he drops it,’’ said Marrone when asked how he plans to defend Gronkowski in Sunday’s AFC Championship game. “There’s no secret formula.

“I’d like to watch a game where someone has been able to do it. He’s going to make his plays and you hope those plays don’t end up killing you.’’

Gronkowski caught six passes for 81 yards and a touchdown in the Patriots’ 35-14 win over the Tennessee Titans in Saturday night’s divisional-round game at Gillette Stadium. The touchdown was his 10th in the playoffs, extending his NFL record for a tight end.


He also passed Shannon Sharpe and Keith Jackson for the second-most postseason receiving yards for a tight end with 835. He needs just 13 against the Jaguars to break the record held by Dallas Clark.

If you are curious about what Jacksonville will actually do, Ben Volin writes that the Jaguars may ask linebacker Myles Jack to cover Gronkowski, while the Patriots will try to get him lined up against linebacker Paul Posluszny.

“He gets better and better,’’ said Marrone on Gronkowski. “It becomes tougher and tougher because he’s able to do more things. Like I said before, he is a very productive player and he’s a good guy.’’