Former Patriots linebacker Matt Chatham joined Mut & Merloni on Tuesday to talk about the Rob Gronkowski injury situation and the Patriots' upcoming game against the Jets.
Chatham, who was a part of the Patriots' three Super Bowl-winning teams of the early 2000s, is in the camp of people with no issue with Gronkowski being on the field for a PAT in the closing minutes of Sunday's blowout win over the Colts.
"I've never in my life heard of anyone getting injured on an extra-point play. Ever," Chatham said. "I mean, it just doesn't happen. … You're as likely to get hurt on a special teams play as you are to get caught in an avalanche in Massachusetts. It's just not likely. So, if you want to sort of present this as though there were some sort of risk that they should have mitigated, well, what risk is there on an extra point? Historically speaking, college football, junior college level, I don't care at what level, you're at like the same amount of risk as dying in a plane accident today as getting hurt on an extra point as a wing.
"It's a freak play. It happened. But to me, I think it's sort of a false premise, sort of a ridiculous conversation to talk about it as if he was at some risk he shouldn't have been in. An extra-point play as a wing is probably the safest play on an NFL football field."
Going forward, Chatham expressed confidence that the Patriots will be able to adjust without Gronkowski due to their depth.
"As any team in the NFL, I think they're built for this sort of calamity," he said. "They've really sort of stocked the tight end position well to where they can run some of the same sets. That doesn't mean those same guys are going to get the same production level, but they have other places to go with the ball. They can still run the 12 packages, they can still run some of the other things they were doing. It just becomes the first person in the progression becomes someone else.
"I think what's important here to understand is that although Gronk is gone for a short time here, he's one of probably three interior pass options that they have that create great mismatches. So, it's not like our middle-of-the-field winner is now gone, we no longer have a dominant component in the middle of the field. It's just not the case. They still win on the inside, that part of the field, just in different ways, with Wes Welker and Aaron Hernandez.
"You're going to see some different formations, you're going to see some different ways to attack people. But two weeks ago we saw very little of Gronk and they still blew the doors off, as far as points, against the Buffalo Bills. I don't think you have to have him to score. I think they've proven that over and over again. I just think it forces you to do it a new way."