Yesterday, I profiled why Chad Ocho Cinco is flying under the radar and the Pats’ inefficiency without Rob Gronkowski. While I do stand behind my initial article that Gronkowski will not have a true impact on the Super Bowl, one player kept the Gronkster in check during the regular season. Sure, Gronkowski brutualized the Giants for eight catches, 101 yards, and a touchdown, but when Mr. Deon Grant covered Gronkowski, he did not record a reception.

Deon Being Deon--AP Photo

 

When it comes to Giant defenders, Grant also seems to get lost in the shuffle. Grant started nine of the Giants 16 games during the regular season and started the NFC Championship in San Francisco. Grant won’t exactly fill up the stat sheet, but his impact is felt. Grant has only recorded one interception on the season and finished ninth in terms of total tackles during the regular season, but Grant’s 13 tackles during the post-season are the fourth most on the Giant defense. Grant is a big strong safety, listed at 6’3″, 220 pounds, and provides the physicality to defend larger receivers and tight ends over the middle of the field.

I mentioned this before, but it’s worth saying again–when Grant matched up against Gronkowski, the Gronk man did not record a catch in five attempts. Gronk was able to have his way with Michael Boley, Kenny Phillips, and Antrel Rolle, but really struggled against a bigger, more physical player. In addition, the Grant-Gronk match-up freed up the aforementioned trio to take away Wes Welker, Aaron Hernandez, and other intermediate Patriot routes.

While the casual Giant fan may not know who Deon Grant is, his success against Gronkowski is worth noting and watching. If Gronkowski plays, I fully expect him to run intermediate routes to avoid putting too much stress on his ankle. If Gronkowski tries to stretch the field, expect Mr. Grant to defend him and defend him well.