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Bill Belichick: ‘I don’t know’ what impact Rob Gronkowski might have

09.25.13 at 11:22 am ET

FOXBORO — Another day, another failed attempt to gain any sort of prediction from Bill Belichick as to whether Rob Gronkowski could make his long-awaited return to the Patriots this Sunday night in Atlanta.

Gronkowski was on the field for full pads practice Wednesday morning. He has been practicing with the team since being taken off PUP on Aug. 31. After being officially listed as “doubtful” by the team for the first two games, he was upgraded to “questionable” (50-50 chance of playing) last week for the first time this season after an offseason filled with forearm and back surgeries. He was subsequently one of the seven inactives for the third straight game to start the season.

Wednesday, Belichick was asked about Gronkowski’s physical improvement from week to week.

“He’€™s definitely made progress,” Belichick said.

Belichick was asked if the upgrade from doubtful to questionable was an indication Gronkowski has taken positive steps of late.

“Just doing better; football conditioning,” Belichick answered. “Like any player that’€™s not able to do some things, they do what they can do. The things they can’€™t do, they can’€™t do. Things they can do, they can do. Hardly anybody has a full body injury. If they have an injury in one part of the body, they can still train other parts of the body. If that’€™s the part of the body that’€™s injured, that’€™s the part that needs to be rehabilitated. But that’€™s a medical thing, it’€™s not a coaching thing, I don’€™t really have anything to do with that.”

From a playing standpoint, does Belichick feel his strength is in a good place?

“It’€™s better than what it was.”

One of the obvious areas Gronkowski is missed is in the red zone. After three games, the Patriots are ranked dead last (32nd) in the NFL in red zone efficiency at 30.7 percent. Even worse is New England’s goal-to-go efficiency without Gronkowski. They are converting just 16.67 percent. Can Gronkowski’s potential return start to change things around?

“I don’€™t know. We’€™ll see, I don’€™t know,” Belichick said.

But whether or not Gronkowski returns, there’s something else Belichick would like to see change inside the 20.

“Number one, not turning the ball over,” Belichick said. “That would be number one.”

Tom Brady threw a red zone interception last week against Tampa Bay and fumbled the ball at the goal line in Buffalo.

Read More: Atlanta Falcons, Bill Belichick, Gronk, New England Patriots



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