Are we witnessing the best season every by a tandem of tight ends in NFL history? Well I can’t say for sure because I am too lazy to look up the stats but it has to be right?
Look at these numbers from Gronk and Hernandez this season:
Rob Gronkowski: Aaron Hernandez:
75 Receptions 68 Receptions
1141 Receiving Yards 736 Receiving Yards
15 Touchdowns 6 Touchdowns
That’s a total of 143 catches, 1877 yards, and 21 touchdowns (which I know for a fact is the most touchdowns by a pair of tight ends in NFL history, they broke their own record of 18 from last season). Those numbers are outrageous for a position that is deemed as a blocker/receiver. I highly doubt two tight ends have ever caught over 1,000 yards in one season.
Hernandez needs 132 yards per game in these last 2 contests for that feat to be accomplished. With the double coverage Gronk and Welker have been seeing, that seems relatively doable.
Gronk has quickly made a name for himself as one of, if not the best tight end in the league (competing with Jimmy Graham of New Orleans and Jermichael Finley of Green Bay, as well as old reliable’s like Tony Gonzalez and Jason Witten). His size has made a match-up problem for all types of defenders. He is way too big for a safety or a corner, and as a result Brady puts the ball where only he can catch it (Washington Redskins game). Then he is way too fast and quick to be covered by most linebackers in the NFL. He has made a living out of the 8 yard hitch route that a linebacker cannot get over fast enough. He is creating nightmarish days for a lot defenses.
Then there is Hernandez. The Connecticut boy who played down with Tebow-nation in Florida, has also made a name for himself as a hybrid tight end, much like Graham. The once youngest man in the NFL has developed into the Pats third receiver with the absence of Chad Ochocinco. He splits out most of the time, he can line up on the end, he can sit in the backfield and chip block as well as leak out for a screen. The versatility of Aaron Hernandez has really made Tom Brady and Bill O’Briens jobs pretty simple. He can find Hernandez on an out for 5 yards which he turns into 40, or he can hit Hernandez on a 40 yard bomb after he smokes a coverage linebacker out of the shoot. Either way, he’s dangerous.
These two deserve some credit by the NFL. I know Gronk is finally starting to get it, but Hernandez is no slouch and should not be overlooked (you see what happens when he is overlooked and Gronk gets triple covered – thanks Broncos). The future is bright for these two studs who have a few years remaining on their rookie contracts. So help me God if Robert Kraft and Bellichick can’t come to an agreement with these two.