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Steelers on Rob Gronkowski: We'll 'jam him up'

When the Steelers kick off their season against New England on Thursday night, Pittsburgh has a plan for Patriots star tight end Rob Gronkowski.

"You just have to jam him up a little bit, mess with his timing," said Steelers linebacker Ryan Shazier, per's Jeremy Fowler. "If you mess up their timing, they are really time-oriented. You have to mess up their timing and get in his face with pressure, then I feel we can slow him down a little bit."

Safety Mike Mitchell acknowledged that Gronkowski is the NFL's finest tight end, but argued: "He has success when people don't put their hands on him."

Pittsburgh isn't exactly reinventing the wheel here. Teams have tried for years to slow down Gronk, but his freaky size and physical gifts are too much for less-than-stellar defenders to deal with.

"Some games I get jammed the whole game, some games I never get jammed," Gronkowski said, sounding unconcerned. "So when we go out there and practice, we practice everything -- getting jammed, not getting jammed, how to get off it, a little move. Whatever comes, I have to be ready, go out and perform."

With the Patriots short-handed at wideout and lacking a game-changing back, Gronkowski's play is more important than ever before. The Steelers' Week 1 fortunes likely boil down to their ability to frustrate the Foxborough behemoth.

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