|Rob Gronkowski is totally OK with Patriots increasing his workload||09.24.14 at 8:20 pm ET|
FOXBORO — Nothing’s holding Rob Gronkowski back now.
The Patriots tight end insisted Wednesday that he’s getting closer and closer to full strength and, as such, is ready to carry more of the workload.
In the season opener against Miami, Gronkowski was down on the official box score for 38 of the 86 offensive snaps. With the Patriots building a big 24-7 halftime lead and with the running game taking more of a priority, his workload was decreased in Minnesota. He took just 28 of 67 snaps.
Last week against the Raiders, Gronk was in on 42 of 73 offensive snaps. Is anything with regard to the reconstructed ACL keeping him from playing more?
“Nah,” Gronkowski replied. “I’m a few games deep now, three games, so basically it’s progressing every week. It’s getting to the point now where we can start rolling more and more.”
On Tuesday, offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels hinted that he would like to increase Gronkowski’s workload.
“Obviously, I’m a football player and I don’t want to be limited,” Gronkowski said. “I always want to play as much as I can.”
With so much talk this week about the problems the offensive line has had protecting Tom Brady, Gronkowski said he certainly wouldn’t object to helping out by staying in to block.
“That could be a way,” Gronkowski said. “But it’s up to the coaches. They’re the ones who game play. Whatever they have, and whatever my job is to do, I’ll go out there and do to the best of my ability.
“I like being out there. It’s up to the coaches and whenever my number is called, I’m going to go out there.”
|Rob Gronkowski says Patriots did enough but ‘that’s not always going to get the job done’||09.21.14 at 7:09 pm ET|
FOXBORO — Rob Gronkowski is a realist.
He knows 16 points might be the 0-3 Raiders at Gillette but the bar is a little higher than beating a winless team traveling cross country on its way to London.
Gronkowski had the only touchdown of the day in a 16-9 win over the Raiders Sunday as the Patriots improved to 2-1.
“Sometimes there is frustration but you always want to move on to the next play, and that’s what we were doing,” Gronkowski said. “We did enough this game, but that’s not always going to get the job done. We’ve just got to keep working together as a unit and keep working hard.”
While there wasn’t much offensively to get excited about, Gronkowski and his continued great play in the red area is one thing Patriots fans can take comfort in.
He had another touchdown catch on a crossing route in the end zone in the second quarter as the Patriots found the end zone for the only time on the afternoon. Gronk would’ve had a second touchdown catch if it weren’t for Charles Woodson sticking his hand up at the last moment and deflecting Brady’s pass to an open Gronkowski in the back of the end zone.
“Just a little over route and just got open on the linebacker, and Tom put a nice ball right there, and I just made the catch and got in,” Gronkowski said of his second-quarter grab. “So, good job by everyone as a unit, and we executed well.”
One of the few times on the afternoon an offensive player in a blue jersey could say that. Julian Edelman would be another. He had 10 catches on 13 targets for 84 hard-fought yards, including a somersault flip near the goal line. After the game Edelman, perhaps after a discussion with coaches, admitted he’s got to do a better job avoiding hits.
“Julian is a warrior,” Gronkowski said in admiration. “He has the ball, he goes full speed, game, practice, whatever. He’s one of the hardest workers I’ve been around.”
Gronk finished with three catches on six targets for 44 yards, including finding a hole in the Raiders zone at midfield for 22 yards on a pivotal 3rd-and-15 conversion from Tom Brady.
“We’ve just got to keep working together as a unit, and that starts at practice first,” Gronkowski said. “We’ve got to get clicking for sure. We did enough today to get that victory, but there are always a lot of improvements, starting with myself. I could make a lot better blocks, better routes. So we’ve just got to go out there in practice and have the offense clicking altogether as one and bring it out to the games.
“A win is a win. Every team is good in the NFL, so whenever you come out with a win, especially in the first game at home, it’s a win. The defense played very well, and we just did what we had to do to get that victory, which is huge.”
|Rob Gronkowski says earning Tom Brady’s trust ‘takes a long time’||09.17.14 at 6:25 pm ET|
FOXBORO — The two buzzwords flying around Gillette Stadium this week are “balance” and “trust.” Balance in play-calling and distribution, according to Bill Belichick and Tom Brady, will lead to a more efficient and productive offense.
Trust in the receiving corps will lead to Brady looking over all of his passing options and not zeroing in on just one or two targets.
Balance, as we saw on Sunday, can be found by tweaking play-calling from week to week. Earning Brady’s Trust, as Rob Gronkowski pointed out Wednesday can be something altogether different.
“It’s takes a long time,” Gronkowski said. “I’ve been here a few years now. You just have to go out there every practice, work hard, work overtime, stay after practice, get the same chemistry down. It’s just the chemistry with Tom, it’s the chemistry with the other wide receivers, with the timing. Chemistry with the offensive linemen. It’s just overall working together as a whole, as a unit.”
Gronkowski has earned Brady’s trust by becoming the most dependable red-zone target while also getting himself open many times in key third-down situations and holding onto the ball in traffic. But Gronkowski, who has caught eight passes on a season-high 17 targets over the first two games, knows he and Julian Edelman (15 targets) can’t do it all. Tom Brady acknowledged Wednesday that distribution starts with the quarterback and goes from there. If the Patriots are to be the offense everyone expects, then contributions need to come from receivers such as Aaron Dobson, Brandon LaFell, Danny Amendola and Tim Wright.
“Definitely,” Gronkowski said when asked if balance would make his life easier. “It will open up holes for everyone on the offense. That’s why you want to click as a whole on offense. You want everyone to be on the same tempo. You want everyone to be on the same page so everyone has equal opportunity when their number is called to make that play. If you’re working together, you know the sky’s the limit if everyone’s clicking. That all starts in practice. You have to keep working hard, keep doing reps in practice and we have to be all on the same page and go out there and be a unit.”
|Rob Gronkowski: ‘It was good getting acclimated out there’||09.07.14 at 6:11 pm ET|
MIAMI GARDENS, Fla. — When Rob Gronkowski caught his first touchdown pass of the season from Tom Brady just 47 seconds into the second quarter, he unleashed his trademark spike and the Patriots went up 17-7.
Everything was going according to plan. He was getting his red zone opportunities in his first game back from his right ACL tear and the Patriots were dictating the pace of the game.
Then the wheels fell off in the second half. He appeared in just one of 13 snaps in the third quarter as the Patriots were outscored 23-0 in the second half, losing 33-20 Sunday in Miami.
“I mean it feels good to play football again, to be out there with the team,” Gronkowski said of his first action of any kin since last Dec. 8. “Being out there with your teammates, you win as a team, lose as a team. I just got to keep on improving every single week. I got a lot of things to work on. I got to keep working hard out there in practice.’
And the knee?
“Everything feels good,” Gronkowski said. “I mean I feel good, so we’ll just keep on playing and have a good practice week, this week, and just got to keep working hard to get better. Definitely can improve in a lot of areas.’
Gronkowski finished with four catches for 40 yards and a touchdown as Brady targeted him 11 times on the day, including in the second quarter when he broke free of Brent Grimes in the end zone, a classic case of Gronk using his size to separate and get open for a six-yard score.
“It always it feels good to get the first one,” Gronkowski said. “Just literally a little slant and [QB] Tom [Brady] scrambled and he scrambled and saw me going across the end zone and he hit me on the pass. I just got to keep on improving, keep on making plays like that. We got to make more plays, as a team and got to keep on improving.’
As for playing just one snap in the third quarter, Gronkowski said it had nothing to do with his conditioning in the heat and humidity.
“We’ve been practicing in the heat a lot so that’s not it. They were just the better team out there today and got to give them credit. Whatever the coaches had. When they called the plays, that’s when I went in. I thought it was good, getting me acclimated out there and feel good. Just have to keep working hard this week.”
Gronkowski said the timing with Brady, as is the case with everybody else in a Patriots uniform, can improve.
“It was fine,” Gronkowski said. “I definitely can improve. That’s what practice is for and that’s what playing the game is for. I know we haven’t played in a game in a while but you can always improve in every area.”
“They just played better. They have a good team, they’ve got a good defense and we just have to go out there and play as a team better, make more plays definitely, including myself. They’re just a good team overall and we have to go out there and execute better.”
|Mike Petraglia breaks down the Rob Gronkowski announcement that he’s ‘good to go’ for Sunday||09.01.14 at 5:17 pm ET|
FOXBORO — WEEI.com’s Mike Petraglia reports that Rob Gronkowski announced publicly Monday that he’s been cleared for NFL games. Gronkowski joked that he was happy to “break the news” himself, a bit of a rarity for a player to announce his readiness for game action for the 2014 season opener Sunday in Miami.
FOXBORO — It’s not often that a player gets to break news, but Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski broke some big news Monday before practice.
“Yep, I am [excited]. I’m good to go. I’ll be playing,” Gronkowski announced as he declared himself ready for Sunday’s season opener against the Dolphins in Miami.
This will mark the first game action of any kind since he tore his right ACL against Cleveland last December. Still, Gronkowski feels he’s fit enough to play a regular-season game.
“Super excited,” Gronkowski said. “Just seeing my teammates grind all week. Go back out there with them, get in the huddle, break the huddle with them. It’s going to be an honor to be out there with my teammates. Super pumped, super excited and just preparing for the game.
“I feel mentally and physically ready, for sure. No doubt about it.”
The news marks a stark contrast to 2013 when he and the team used a great deal of caution, protecting against a broken left forearm that would not heal properly. Gronkowski spent most of the first half of the season wondering exactly when he would feel comfortable enough taking hits in a game.
He eventually made his ’13 debut on Oct. 20 against the Jets. His season lasted just seven games when he was hit on his right knee by Cleveland’s T.J. Ward on Dec. 8, tearing his ACL. He had surgery on Jan. 9 and returned to full-team drills for the first time Aug. 18, did not play in the preseason.
Despite all of that, Gronk insisted Monday that he’d be ready to suit up and play Sunday against the Dolphins, a bit of an unusual declaration in an organization that usually guards the status of injured players like Fort Knox.
“Super excited, super pumped. I feel mentally and physically ready, for sure. No doubt about it,” Gronkowski said. “My mentality now is I’m ready to go, I’m ready to be out there, I’m ready to hit, I’m ready to start going.”
It should be noted that it wasn’t until his fifth game that Gronkowski played every snap. Likewise this time around, he doesn’t anticipate a full workload Sunday in Miami.
“Definitely not [playing] every single snap, but just get out there, get my feet wet, whatever coaches have, whatever we game-plan this week will be good,” Gronkowski said.
Gronkowski also insisted he will not be changing his reckless, physical style when he’s on the field.
“It feels good to be out here now this week, preparing for the Dolphins, knowing that I put myself in the best situation the last few weeks and few months to get back out here,” he added. “That was my plan the whole time, to work as hard as I could so I’d be ready for this week.”
|Mike Petraglia breaks down Day 1 of Patriots-Redskins practices in Richmond||08.04.14 at 5:46 pm ET|
Latest from Bleacher Report
- How Big of an Impact Will Easley Make for Pats?
- Patriots' Top Offseason Moves
- Assessing Every Patriots UDFA's Chances of Making the Roster
- Projecting Patriots' Roster Battles This Offseason
- Ranking Pats' Remaining Offseason Priorities
- Early Projections for Patriots' Final 53-Man Roster
- In-Depth Look at Each Pats Draft Pick