AP Photo/Ron Jenkins

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Anyone can see just how much the particular Dallas Cowboys desperately miss Ezekiel Elliott.

Now the New England Patriots will get a reminder of life without having Tom Brady’s favorite target when Rob Gronkowski sits out their own suspension Monday night in Arkansas.

“He’s a big focal point in our criminal offense, ” Brady said of Gronk. “I mean, I think when this individual gets going, it’s great for everyone, so it’s been great having your pet in there this year. He’s worked very hard and he’s a great player. I really like playing with him. We’ve got a great relationship. ”

Yes, even Brady includes a teammate who makes him much better.

And every NFL team has that certain player that makes everything click, somebody with so much ability and management who makes everyone else better, as well. Or, in the case of tail-ending teams, a person who stands above the clutter.

Sure, the quarterback is the most important, coming in contact with the ball every snap upon offense. But take Mr. Essential off the field, and nothing functions quite the same.

Nobody knows that much better than Dallas, 1-3 since Elliott started serving their suspension and placing a serious crimp in the Cowboys’ postseason plans. Dallas finally ended the particular skid last week, beating Washington. Making it through and staying in the playoff quest until Dec. 24 when Elliott returns against Seattle may not be achievable without what he brings to area.

Washington linebacker Zach Brown states it’s easy to see on film exactly how different the Cowboys are with out Elliott’s speed and ability to rating on any carry.

“Now everyones forcing them to pass the basketball, ” Brown said.

Gronkowski network marketing leads the Patriots with 55 attracts and 7 touchdowns , and he simply turned in his best game this year with nine catches for 147 yards. But his late hit on Expenses cornerback Tre’Davious White means Gronk will miss their first game this season with the Pats chasing the AFC’s No . one seed.

“He’s obviously a guy that is super consistent when he’s already been out there for us, and he’s actually playing that same role this season, ” Brady said.

A quarterback’s best friend can be a left tackle such as Joe Thomas in Cleveland or even David Bakhtiari in Green These types of. The Falcons didn’t click on the unpleasant line until signing center Alex Mack last year, and then they proceeded to go straight to the Super Bowl.

The talented wide receiver also can bring an entire team. Just look at Pittsburgh’s Antonio Brownish , or conversely exactly what it’s been like for the Giants without having Odell Beckham Jr.

Defenders could be indispensable, too.

In Carolina, Camera Newton may do the Superman postures, but the Panthers’ real MVP will be middle linebacker Luke Kuechly. The particular Panthers aren’t the same without the 2013 NFL Defensive Player of the 12 months, and he’s missed time along with three concussions over the past three months. When healthy, Kuechly rarely does not show for a tackle. He also generally knows exactly what play is being called .

“When you watch his movie against other teams, he’s directing where the run is going, ” Arkansas coach Adam Gase said. “It’s really amazing to watch him enjoy, because he’s a tough guy to try out chess with. For me, I’m over the sideline and he’s on the industry, so it makes it really tough. ”

The city of jacksonville had been spending millions on the defense that seemed wasted till end Calais Campbell arrived because easily the league’s best free-agent acquisition of 2017. He’s helped place the Jaguars (8-4) in the mix for his or her first playoff berth since 3 years ago. Campbell potential clients the AFC in sacks and is a calming influence within the locker room.

“He’s everything that is advertised, ” Jaguars coach Doug Marrone said. “Just from the method to prepare, the leadership in the locker room, on the field, leads simply by example and, obviously, has been actively playing extremely well for us. A lot of times in totally free agency, maybe you don’t get, sometimes, the cost of what you would like, but that’s not the situation with Calais. We’ve gotten that will, and I believe more, out of your pet. ”

Oakland may have one of the most severe defenses in the NFL, but protective end Khalil Mack – final year’s Defensive Player of the Yr – helped the Raiders contend again within the struggling AFC West despite being the defender every opposing offense focuses on most.

“Some of the stuff he was performing just can’t be done, ” Denver linebacker Von Miller said earlier this year. “Just pick up offensive linemen plus run straight through them – that will stuff, it can be done, but not the way Khalil does it. ”

Then there are gamers that teammates know mean almost everything to a franchise such as two-time Pro Bowl restricted end Delanie Walker in Tn . Such players might not get the attention from fans their particular play deserves, but opposing groups build their game plans about them.

“I know that the groups we’re playing are trying to stop your pet, ” Titans coach Mike Mularkey said.

That’s the ultimate sign showing how indispensable a player really is.

AP Pro Football Writers Josh Dubow and Schuyler Dixon and AP Sports Writers Mark Long, Kyle Hightower and Steve Reed added to this report.

For more NATIONAL FOOTBALL LEAGUE coverage: http://www.pro32.ap.org and http://www.twitter.com/AP-NFL.

Adhere to Teresa M. Walker at www.twitter.com/teresamwalker