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Rex has 'no idea' how to defend Gronk-Bennett duo


The prospect of defending Rob Gronkowski and Martellus Bennett in the New England Patriots' offense has even the most prolific defensive coaches scratching their heads.

When asked at Tuesday's AFC Coaches Breakfast at the Annual League Meeting, Buffalo Bills coach Rex Ryan seemed flummoxed at the prospect of guarding against the tight end duo.


"I have no idea," Ryan said, via "I just think it's unusual to have two guys that are like 6-(foot)-7 and can run, catch, block. So, yeah, it's going to be a major challenge. There's no doubt about that. It's scary when you look at them. Those are two huge guys. How we're going to defend them, I don't know."

The initial reaction is to compare the Gronk-Bennett pairing to the Pats' previous tight end iteration with Aaron Hernandez. Ryan rightfully dismissed that correlation, noting -- as we have in this space -- that Hernandez plays a role closer to a receiver, whereas Bennett is a weapon as a blocker as well as in the passing game.

Ryan struggled to find a suitable comparison.

"I can't really think of one," he said. "... I remember Kansas City had (Tony) Gonzalez and they had that kid (Jason Dunn) from Eastern Kentucky at one point, but that's hardly these two. Gonzalez is as good as anybody, but, ah, I don't know. It's going to be interesting."

Interesting is one way to put it.

Bennett and Gronk on the field together, along with the Pats' bevy of elite route-running receivers, will make it extremely difficult for defenses to match up. The personnel won't tip run/pass play calls, and it allows Tom Brady to easily adjust to defenses at the line of scrimmage.

The tight end duo will give defensive coaches headaches. Good thing Ryan and his cohorts have more than six months to come up with something.


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