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How to stop Gronk? 'Uh ... triple-team,' says Aqib Talib

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Have the Bills given teams a blueprint for slowing down New England?

Probably not, but the Broncos saw coach Rex Ryan follow through on his plans to shut down Rob Gronkowski, holding the Pro Bowl behemoth to just two catches in Buffalo's narrow loss to the Patriots last Monday night.

So how will the Broncos handle the game's top pass-catching tight end?

"Uh ... triple-team," said cornerback Aqib Talib, per The Denver Post. "It's his size and that speed. And that quarterback."

Broncos defensive coordinator Wade Phillips noted that Buffalo double-teamed Gronk "some," but they "didn't all the time."

"He's a great player and you have to be aware of him," Phillips said. "Anytime they have a -- they do the same thing defensively against teams they play. If you try to take away what they do best or take away their best player, that's what you have to try to do. It means doubling him a lot, certainly, but it also means putting enough pressure on the quarterback where the guy doesn't have time to throw to the guy even when he gets open sometimes. You can't double-cover him every play, but there are certain things that we will. You have to."

Plenty of clubs have tried before to lock down Gronk with multiple cover men. Until recently, that plan simply left receiver Julian Edelman and jitterbug Dion Lewis open for more looks, yardage and points. With both players on the shelf, though, this Patriots offense hasn't been itself of late.

New England has five giveaways in their last three games after losing the ball just three times over the team's first seven games. Tom Brady's completion percentage, yards per attempt, passer rating and touchdown-to-pick ratio have all fallen off without Edelman in the lineup.

Still, no team in football does a better job of masking over injuries and turning no-namers into stars. Shutting down Gronk is just part of the equation. Getting the best of Brady and Bill Belichick -- the best quarterback-coach duo of our lifetime -- is another task altogether. Just ask Rex.

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