The New England Patriots have announced that Rob Gronkowski will undergo surgery to repair a herniated disc Friday and will miss up to two months, meaning his season could be over.

This is the third back surgery of Gronkowski’s career.

“This is a major blow for the New England Patriots,” London Fletcher said on CBS Sports Radio’s The Doug Gottlieb Show. “There’s maybe four or five players in the league that nobody can really match up against. He’s one of those type of players. This is a big blow for the New England Patriots and their offense. Fortunately, they have Martellus Bennett, who’s a good tight end. But losing Gronk, that’s a major issue for the New England Patriots moving forward.”

The New England Patriots have purposefully gotten rid of talented players in recent years, including Jamie Collins. Their margin of error kept getting smaller. Well, without Gronkowski, it might be gone completely.

“It was a question mark even before when you look at that New England Patriots defense and how they performed this season,” Fletcher said. “It’s not a great defense. They don’t have the playmakers like they had in the past when they were winning Super Bowls. You talk about the (Tedy) Bruschi era, (Mike) Vrabel, Willie McGinest – those type of guys. Ty Law and Lawyer Milloy, Rodney Harrison – they don’t have those type of players right now. You let Collins go in the middle of the season like that – maybe there was some other issues ongoing where they just said it’s better to cut bait right now, addition by subtraction. But you can see that defense definitely could use him out there to make some plays for them.”

Offensively, the aforementioned Bennett has had three 100-yard days for the Patriots this season. He also has four touchdowns but has not found the end zone since a three-score effort in Week 5. Needless to say, the Patriots will need more from Bennett in the coming weeks – not to mention the rest of the offense.

“It just puts more pressure on the other guys to make plays for them,” Fletcher said. “I’m sure the Patriots will have a different type of scheme. They’ll figure it out (and maybe utilize) Edelman and Bennett. The got those running backs. They’ll figure out ways to move the ball and score point, but not having Gronk – that’s a major blow for them.”

New England (9-2) hosts the Rams (4-7) this Sunday. Kickoff is at 1 p.m. ET.


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