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Opponents working to keep Gronkowski, Hernandez in check

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Recent posts by Kevin Fishbain

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Posted Oct. 27, 2011 @ 10:36 p.m. ET
By Kevin Fishbain

Patriots second-year TEs Rob Gronkowski and Aaron Hernandez have not lost a step coming off very productive rookie campaigns. But defenses are slowly but surely starting to find ways to keep the dangerous pair in check.

"Gronk" was on a tear in his first three games, catching five touchdowns. He hasn't found the endzone since Week Three, though, as opponents have been doubling him near the goal line. The Patriots find ways to react well to what defenses do to their offensive weapons. One source pointed out how the team moves Wes Welker around the formation pre-snap, and the Pats may do similar things with Gronkowski.

Hernandez being healthy should also help the tight end. In his two games back from an MCL sprain, Hernandez has 13 catches for 124 yards and a touchdown. Opponents have found a weakness to attack with the former Gator, and we saw the Cowboys do it in Week Six, stripping Hernandez of the ball after a catch. Hernandez also had two fumbles and lost one in the team's first preseason game. It will be important going forward for Hernandez to secure the ball well and to see what teams try to do to take the athletic tight ends out of the Patriots' game plan.

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