3 new individual battles to watch against the Buccaneers

(Photo by Jacob Kupferman/Getty Images) Shaq Thompson
(Photo by Jacob Kupferman/Getty Images) Shaq Thompson /
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Carolina Panthers
(Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images) Rob Gronkowski /

Shaq Thompson vs Rob Gronkowski

The acquisition of quarterback Tom Brady might have gathered most of the headlines. But the trade for prolific tight end Rob Gronkowski is another big-time move that could get the Tampa Bay Buccaneers over the hump.

Gronkowski came out of a brief retirement to link up with Brady with the Bucs in 2020. This has only heightened expectations regarding a possible Super Bowl tilt. But there is just no telling whether the All-Pro can get back to the player of old.

Having a year off will have healed up his aching body an endless amount. Gronkowski is going to see plenty of Shaq Thompson when they Bucs’ come up against the Carolina Panthers in their divisional matchups. Although there is the strong option of using a physical, athletic player like Jeremy Chinn on the tight end in obvious passing situations.

Thompson is keen to assume a leadership role in Carolina next season. He is more than capable of doing this if recent production is any indication. But coping with such a dynamic weapon such as Gronkowski is going to be a significant challenge if the player is back to his best.

Gronkowski is almost five inches taller than Thompson and is considerably bigger in stature. He uses his length incredibly well to create separation and this will be another thing that the outside linebacker will need to consider when they match up.