BOSTON (CBS) — De’Vondre Campbell didn’t have to worry about Rob Gronkowski in Super Bowl LI. He does now, as the Falcons head to Foxboro for the rematch against a Patriots offense featuring a healthy Gronk. But the linebacker is still confident that he can shut Gronk down.
“I feel like I match up well against [Gronkowski], because I feel like I match up well against anybody,” Campbell told ESPN’s Vaughn McClure on Monday. He’ll face Gronk after the tight end had a big game against the Jets on Sunday, catching six passes for 83 yards and two touchdowns.READ MORE: Christine Elow Becomes First Woman To Lead Cambridge Police Department As Commissioner
Though Campbell may sound brash, he wasn’t going to say the opposite. Also, he has mostly backed up his confident comments so far this season. The Falcons have not allowed a touchdown to an opposing tight end through five games, and have let up just 24 receptions on 44 targets. Only the Chiefs have given up catches to tight ends at a lower rate.
Gronkowski struggled in the Patriots’ season-opening loss to the Chiefs, catching just two out of six targets for 33 yards with All-Pro safety Eric Berry covering him one-on-one. It remains to be seen if Campbell can provide the same kind of lockdown coverage, especially because he hasn’t faced many tight ends who are in Gronk’s class.READ MORE: 'Friendly's Cafe': See The Iconic Restaurant Chain's Plans For A Modern Look At A New Location
Two players who could be compared to Gronkowski from a pass-catching standpoint are the Seahawks’ Jimmy Graham and the Chiefs’ Travis Kelce, who each faced Campbell’s Falcons last season. Graham caught six of nine targets for 89 yards. Kelce? Eight catches for 140 yards.MORE NEWS: Maura Murray's Family Says FBI Putting Out Nationwide Bulletin For Missing UMass Student
Campbell and the Falcons defense have certainly played well against tight ends so far this season, but Gronkowski presents easily their biggest challenge yet. It’s up to Campbell to back up his words, or else the talk of a “Super Bowl hangover” could continue to hang over his team.