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Resetting Patriots depth chart: Tight end 04.10.15 at 8:00 am ET
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Rob Gronkowski was a tremendous force in 2014 for the Patriots. (Jim Rogash/Getty Images)

Rob Gronkowski was a tremendous force in 2014 for the Patriots. (Jim Rogash/Getty Images)

With the majority of free agency completed and the draft looming, we’re going to take a look at the Patriots depth chart by position and try and assess the level of need going forward. We started with special teams. Now, it’s tight end:

Current depth chart: Rob Gronkowski (82 catches, 131 targets, 1,124 yards, 12 TDs), Scott Chandler (47 catches, 70 targets, 497 yards, 3 TDs for Buffalo in 2014), Tim Wright (26 catches, 33 targets, 259 yards, 6 TDs), Michael Hoomanawanui (3 catches, 6 targets, 44 yards)

Lost in free agency: None.

Gained in free agency: Chandler is the biggest offensive addition the team made in free agency, agreeing to a contract with the Patriots on March 13. The 6-foot-7. 270-pounder, who was cut loose by the Bills earlier this offseason, has put together some really impressive performances against the Patriots over the years, with 28 catches for 384 yards and four touchdowns in his career against New England. The big tight end, who will turn 30 before the start of the 2015 season, had his best season in 2013 when he finished with 53 catches for 655 yards and a pair of touchdowns. In his career, he has 182 receptions for 2,120 yards and 17 touchdowns.

Other changes: None, although given the addition of Chandler — as well as his body type and skill set — it wouldn’t be a shock to see Wright evolve into more of a wide receiver type in 2015. Wright is a dependable pass catcher (his 79 percent catch rate was the best on the team for any offensive skill position player who was targeted at least 20 times), and is fundamentally a non-factor as a blocker. Something to keep an eye on this coming season.

Is this an area of need for the Patriots going into the draft? No. In an offseason where the tight end market is pretty bad — there are no consensus first-round picks in the draft at the position, and only Julius Thomas and Charles Clay made any real guaranteed money in free agency — the Patriots are in very good shape. While New England could chase after a tight end in the later rounds in the draft (or even go after a rookie free agent or two), as it has done the last couple of years with prospects like Zach Sudfeld), don’t expect the Patriots to utilize any prime draft capital at the spot this spring.

Read More: Michael Hoomanawanui, resetting the depth chart, Rob Gronkowski, Scott Chandler
Rob Gronkowski plays flip cup with the gang from ESPN’s ‘SportsNation’ 04.07.15 at 9:10 pm ET
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Rob Gronkowski hung out at ESPN on Tuesday, and appeared as a guest on a handful of shows. The highlight might have been an appearance on “SportsNation,” where the big tight end played some flip cup with the rest of the gang. Check out what happened:

Read More: because it's the offseason, Rob Gronkowski,
Rob Gronkowski throws out first pitch at Angels game to Mike Trout 04.03.15 at 11:28 am ET
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Rob Gronkowski continues to enjoy his offseason.

Thursday night the Patriots tight end threw out the first pitch at the Angels-Dodgers game to Angels star outfielder Mike Trout. By the looks of things, Gronkowski has thrown a few fastballs in his life as he delivered a strike to Trout.

Gronkowski stayed in the Angels dugout for some of the game and also hung out in the clubhouse. Here are some photos from his night.

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Read More: Mike Trout, Rob Gronkowski,
Rob Gronkowski talks to Jim Rome about his ideal wife 04.01.15 at 4:21 pm ET
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Compared to last offseason — where there were roughly 500,000 stories about him and his rehab — it’s been relatively low-key for Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski. However, the big fella recently taped an interview with Jim Rome, where he talked about a few different things, including his requirements for the ideal wife.

Read More: because it's the offseason, Rob Gronkowski,
Scott Chandler is excited to get to Foxboro and ‘deal with’ Bill Belichick, work with Rob Gronkowski 03.20.15 at 4:53 pm ET
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Scott Chandler is ready to begin a new career in New England. (Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images)

Scott Chandler is ready to begin a new career in New England. (Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images)

Scott Chandler knows the situation he’s in coming to Foxboro. He leaves Buffalo where he was clearly the best pass-catching tight end in the Bills’ offense and comes to New England where he will be the second-most recognizable tight end behind Rob Gronkowski.

During a conference call Friday, Chandler called Bill Belichick a straight shooter.

Did Belichick lay out to him what it will mean to be the second tight end in a potent offense behind Rob Gronkowski?

“We didn’€™t get into that too terribly much,” Chandler said. “I think what I want to do is be part of a team that’€™s a winning team. Whatever that role that the coaches define for me there, I want to do whatever I can to help the team win.

“I’€™ve talked to Rob on the field after games and that’€™s about it. I’€™m sure we’€™ll get to know each other and get along well. He seems like a fun guy to be around. Obviously he’€™s a great player. I’€™m looking forward to being able to learn from him and watch him do his thing. He’€™s pretty fun to watch.”

Chandler, like Gronk, is a tall tight end, at 6-foot-7, and – like Gronk – could provide more blocking along the offensive line as he has developed that part of his game.

“I think it’€™s one of those things that it can be tough, but I’€™ve been dealing with it for a while now,” Chandler added. “You learn to sink or swim pretty quick in this league. You want to do whatever you can to get low and stay low. It’€™s hard, but you learn how to deal with it because if you can’€™t get the job done, they’€™re going to find someone else.”

Chandler, who signed a two-year, $5.3 million contract on March 13, will be more than happy to make some personal sacrifices to attain more team glory. In five non-playoff seasons in Buffalo, Chandler caught 17 touchdowns, including 28 catches on 42 targets and four touchdowns in nine games against the Patriots.

“I think you go into a game just wanting to do what it takes for your team to win and sometimes that means catching the ball and sometimes that means blocking well,” Chandler said. “I’€™ve probably had games that I didn’€™t have very good stats, but they were some of my better games throughout my career. It just so happened that in those games I needed to catch the ball a little bit and I was able to do that.”

Belichick can trust that Chandler has been taught well. Before playing for the Bills, he played his college ball under Belichick’s good friend and Iowa head coach Kirk Ferentz. Read the rest of this entry »

Read More: 2015 NFL free agency, Bill Belichick, Buffalo Bills, Kirk Ferentz
Rob Gronkowski has some fun at Clippers game Monday night 03.10.15 at 7:59 am ET
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The Winter of Gronk keeps rolling on.

Monday night Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski and his brothers attended the Clippers-Timberwolves game in Los Angeles where Gronkowski made an appearance on the jumbotron dancing and then threw autographed nerf footballs into the stands.

Video of Gronkowski throwing footballs into the stands can be seen after the page jump.

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Rob Gronkowski: ‘When you win the Super Bowl, it changes lives’ 03.04.15 at 8:14 pm ET
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The Winter of Gronk has been in full swing, but the Patriots tight end took some time to join ESPN Radio’s “SVP and Russillo” show on Wednesday to promote the ESPN Madden Ultimate Team vote.

Gronkowski picked his own Madden team, and his first choice was not much of a surprise in Tom Brady.

“It was pretty cool to pick these teams,” said Gronkowski on the show. “There are so many legendary players out there, it was kind of hard. Sometimes you went with your favorite player who was on your team growing up that you like to watch, but obviously I had to pick my first choice, which is the best QB ever, Tom [Brady].”

The Patriots tight end also reflected on what life has been like since winning the Super Bowl, 28-24 over the Seahawks.

“When you win the Super Bowl, it changes lives,” Gronkowski said. “It’s been very cool, but I was also [part of] a Super Bowl loss, when we lost three years ago. I can tell you this, winning it is a lot, lot different than losing it. It’s been a great time. Pretty awesome.”

The All-Pro said he will always remember the parade through the streets of Boston the following Wednesday after the game.

“I didn’t really know what it was going to be like, what I was really getting myself into. I didn’t know duck boat rides were four miles with thousands and thousands of people [cheering],” Gronkowski said.

He finished the regular season with 82 receptions for 1,124 yards and 12 touchdowns, which was his second-best statistical season of his career. Gronkowski and Brady had a strong connection all season long, with Gronkowski being Brady’s go-to target. He said he and Brady still keep in touch during the offseason, but knows whenever the two meet up it’s all work.

“It’s like a work atmosphere. Call him up, see where he’s at and see if he wants to throw the ball around a little bit,” he said. “Whenever you meet up with Tom, you always know you’re going to be working — at least for an hour or two on the field. You know you can always count on that.”

Over the past month Gronkowski has been enjoying himself — appearing on Jimmy Kimmel Live, taking a vacation to Florida and most recently a weekend in Vegas.

“It’s been a little crazy, a lot of fun,” said Gronkowski of his time since the Super Bowl. “I’m just enjoying the time, celebrating with my teammates, my family and friends. Basically just enjoying the time off because you go through the grind for seven months straight, so you kind of sit back, relax, have some free time to yourself, so it’s been cool.”

Read More: Rob Gronkowski, Tom Brady,



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