Re: Rudolph has big expectations for 2012
The Patriots don't use them the way most teams do though.
I was shocked by the size of the contract the Pats gave to Gronkowski. As good as he is, and he's been very good, I still think that system works mainly because of Brady and the protection he gets. Put a lesser QB back there and/or put him under the sort of pressure Ponder found himself under most of last year and those TE's would look a lot more ordinary IMHO.
As for Rudolph, I watched his highlights from last season and the one thing he can do very well already is go up and get the ball even when he's covered. Ponder threw him a couple of jump balls last season that a lesser receiver would have either been lucky to catch or maybe would have even been intercepted and Rudolph went up and over to make very tough catches. The Vikes may not have the dominant outside WR who can make those plays, but if Rudolph can and Ponder is willing to give him chances to make plays even when he's covered Rudolph could have a big year.