Bedard: 'Defense needs to pull together without Gronkowski'

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Bedard: 'Defense needs to pull together without Gronkowski'

How badly will the loss of Rob Gronkowski affect the Patriots' chances at earning a No. 1 or No. 2 seed in the AFC?

The guys on Sports Tonight talk about how tough it was already to earn one of those two seeds -- and now without Gronk it certainly won't be easier.

That said, the Boston Globe's Greg Bedard thinks the team can still win without him.

"If this team can't survive this, then they have big problems" Bedard said. "Rob's a very good player, but they have plenty of weapons ... they brought in other guys, they brought in Brandon Lloyd. They have Welker, they have Edelman. There are plenty of options on this team to be able to survive. This offense is averaging almost 36 points a game. You take Rob out of it, it affects it, yes, but it certainly far from a season-killer for this team."

Hear what else they had to say in the video, and let us know your thoughts on the Pats chances without Gronk.

OFFSEASON

Is it curious that Kevin Durant is even giving the Celtics an audience?

Is it curious that Kevin Durant is even giving the Celtics an audience?

Mike Felger, Dan Shaughnessy and Glenn Ordway wonder why the Celtics are even getting a meeting with Kevin Durant when free agency begins. Does it mean they have a legitimate chance of signing him?

Belichick: Buddy Ryan a father to 'a great football family'

Belichick: Buddy Ryan a father to 'a great football family'

Bill Belichick released a statement on Buddy Ryan's passing Tuesday afternoon. 

"Today is a sad day in football due to the passing of Buddy Ryan," Belichick said. "It was always very challenging to compete against Coach Ryan, who was father to a great football family that carries on his coaching and defensive tradition. My condolences are with the Ryan Family."

Belichick is certainly very familiar with Ryan's legacy and the tradition Ryan passed down to his sons Rex and Rob. The Patriots coach has competed against all three.

Rex Ryan has squared off with Belichick during his time as head coach for the Jets (2009-14) and Bills (2015-present), and their matchups go back to Rex's days with the Ravens (1999-2008) when he was a defensive line coach and then defensive coordinator.

Rob Ryan, like his brother, got his first NFL break when his father was the head coach of the Cardinals in the mid-1990s. His second break, though, came from Belichick. He joined the Patriots staff during Belichick's first year as head coach in 2000 and coached linebackers for four seasons in New England. He has since competed against Belichick as a defensive coordinator for the Raiders, Browns, Cowboys and Saints. Rob joined Rex in Buffalo this year to serve as an assistant on the staff there. 

For Belichick's thoughts on the impact of Buddy Ryan's famous "46" defense, we dug up some of his comments from a 2012 press conference that you can find here. He called the combination of Ryan's scheme and the talented players Ryan had at his disposal as defensive coordinator of the 1985 Super Bowl champion Bears "pretty unblockable."