New England Patriots: TE Rob Gronkowski OUT v. Tampa Bay Buccaneers

FOXBORO, MA - OCTOBER 01: Rob Gronkowski
FOXBORO, MA - OCTOBER 01: Rob Gronkowski /

The New England Patriots offense will be without star tight end Rob Gronkowski on Thursday night in Tampa Bay against the Buccaneers.

Reports about New England Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski were coming out each hour on Thursday, and most said it looked like he would play. Now, that may not be the case.

Just three hours before the Patriots are set to take on the Buccaneers in Tampa Bay, NFL insider Adam Schefter dropped a bomb.

Schefter now says Gronkowski is not expected to play tonight.

The star tight end is reportedly dealing with a thigh contusion or bruise. It must be pretty bad if it’s going to hold Gronk out of the game, especially with his team sitting at just 2-2. That said though, the poor start is not on the offense.

More from Chowder and Champions

Tom Brady has been on fire, and he must be the early favorite to win the NFL MVP Award. He has 10 touchdowns with no interceptions, and he also leads the league in passing yards.

Gronkowski’s replacement will be Dwayne Allen, who has yet to catch a pass in a Patriots uniform. Third-stringer Jacob Hollister should also see plenty of snaps in this game. He has just 2 catches for 24 yards this season. Clearly, one of the two backups will need to step it up here.

Eith that, or Brady will have to rely on other targets. This is a game where Dion Lewis now could be a huge factor out of the backfield in the passing game. James White will also help to fill that role. Luckily, wide receiver Phillip Dorsett continues to get more and more comfortable in the New England offense, so he could help out big time.

Next: 5 Patriots that need to step up v. Tampa Bay

It will be interesting to see what direction the Patriots offense heads in on Thursday night without their best non-Brady player. The game, in which the Patriots will wear all-white color rush uniforms, will kick off at 8:35 PM in Tampa Bay. Of course, the offense really won’t matter if the New England defense can’t turn things around.