|Tim Wright was ready for his ‘opportunity’ when Lions doubled Rob Gronkowski||11.23.14 at 7:15 pm ET|
FOXBORO — Pick your poison. The Lions chose to double Rob Gronkowski often on Sunday in the red zone. That part worked but the Patriots killed the Lions with a heavy dose of Tim Wright, who caught a pair of touchdowns, including one where Tom Brady had no choice to but to throw it to him.
Wright caught a 4-yard TD pass over the middle in the first quarter as the Patriots took the lead for good. In the second quarter, Wright caught a pass in the end zone when there wasn’t a Lion within 10 yards of him.
Wright admitted after the Patriots’ 34-9 win Sunday that he was grateful for the attention Gronk drew, leaving him in single coverage or no coverage at all.
“We both work hard and try to play off of each other,” Wright said. “However the dice may fall, however the defense plays it, who doubles who, the other guy just has to be ready for the opportunity. That’s what we pride ourselves on.”
Wright caught three more passes in the second half but none for touchdowns and finished with just 36 yards receiving. But it was the red zone where Wright made it matter most.
“The Lions have a great defense all around,” Wright said. “We knew going into that game that whatever that role is, we had to stick to it and that’s what we had to utilize for that game. We did a great job. The [offensive] line held up great. Tom delivered. He does what he does all the time, and just the receivers getting open and doing their job.”
This was particularly important going in since the Lions fearsome front seven figured to rush the quarterback at all costs.
“We knew timing was critical going into it and the offensive line did a great job all week of sticking together and creating a scheme to defeat their d-line, defeat the pass rush. Give Tom time to deliver the ball, that’s what he did, and the receivers on the perimeter ran great routes and we got it done.”
Wright caught his fifth and sixth touchdowns of the season, a new career best, making that trade of Logan Mankins look better and better as the season goes on.
“It’s definitely rewarding,” Wright said. “Like I said, every phase of the ball is important to this game that we play. As long as everyone works hard during the week, it will pay off on Sunday.”
|Chuck Pagano thinks Rob Gronkowski makes Patriots ‘more of a nightmare’||11.12.14 at 8:58 pm ET|
FOXBORO — Bill Belichick won’t admit it. Tom Brady will just smile in gratitude. And Rob Gronkowski certainly won’t acknowledge it. But the best tight end in football is a nightmare matchup for any opponent, especially one that has had difficulty defending much-lesser tight ends this season.
But Colts head coach Chuck Pagano was more than willing to detail just what kind of problem Gronkowski presents for his Colts this Sunday night at Lucas Oil Stadium.
“Tom’s spreading the ball around, but Rob’s a matchup nightmare,” Pagano said. “It’s all hands on deck to try to make sure that that guy doesn’t wreck a game. You see everybody trying to do that, but he finds a way to make unbelievable plays. He’s a great player and they’ve got a bunch of them, a bunch of skill guys that are making great plays.”
How big a game could Gronkowski have? Consider tight end Julius Thomas caught three touchdowns – in the second quarter – of Denver’s 31-24 win on opening night. The next week, Philly’s Zach Ertz had four catches for 87 yards. Against the Steelers in Week 8, Heath Miller had seven catches for 112 yards and a touchdown.
What is Gronk expecting?
“They’re a very good team and we have to prepare to our max and we have to be ready for the game,” Gronkowski said, keeping everything cautiously vague. “We have to come out and perform to our best because, if not, they’re a very good team and we could struggle easily versus them if we’re not going out there prepared. You have to be ready and go out and be prepared.
“They’ve got a lot of good skill players, good linebackers, safeties, corners and you just have to be prepared for anything at any time. You never know what you’re going to get so you have to be prepared and expect anything.”
|Tom Brady calls Rob Gronkowski one-handed grab ‘one of the best catches I’ve ever seen’||11.02.14 at 10:54 pm ET|
On the first play of the fourth quarter, the Patriots quarterback spotted his favorite target – Rob Gronkowski – over the middle. But he was open for just a flash. And adding to the difficulty, Brady put the ball in a place where it couldn’t be intercepted – behind Gronk’s head. No problem.
Gronkowski simply stopped, jumped, spun his body backward and stuck out his left hand and came down with the ball as he was falling backwards to the ground at the Denver 1. The catch was so stunning that linebacker Brandon Marshall, who was trailing the play, put his hands on top of his helmet when he saw Gronk come down with the ball.
“Incredible. That was one of the best catches I’ve ever seen,” Brady beamed in genuine awe. “It doesn’t get any better than that. I wish they’d have given him the touchdown. Then we came back on the next play ‘ it was a little bit easier the next one, but that was unbelievable.”
Gronk was, naturally humble speaking about it afterward.
“It was a pretty good catch,” Gronkowski said. “Tom put it where I could make that play, so it just happened. It’s just a reaction ‘ going to the ball, when you see the ball, you want to go for it, so it’s just a natural reaction to go get it, so it ended up being a one-handed, so it was pretty cool.
“It was a good catch, but you guys can do the rating of it, but [I’m] just trying to make plays and make as many as possible when my number is called.”
Gronkowski has never had a better five-game stretch in his career. He’s caught 36 passes (nine each in the last two) for 316 yards and five touchdowns.
Gronk’s reward after Bill Belichick‘s challenge for a touchdown failed? Brady went right back to him on a quick in-cut for a much simpler catch but more valuable, as the TD worth six points put the Patriots up, 43-21, and iced the game. Gronk made a tumbling one-handed grab for a touchdown in the Jan. 2012 playoffs against Tim Tebow and the Broncos. But Sunday’s grab was on another level.
“We had a chance to get him in a good matchup,” Brady said. “He made an incredible catch and I mean, I’ve never seen anything like that.”
|Fun-loving Rob Gronkowski helps get everyone in Patriots offense ‘clicking’||10.26.14 at 11:49 pm ET|
“It’s pretty sweet,” Brady said. “He was a big-time player today. It was great to get him going like that. Certainly running the ball was great. The guys up from played awesome. A lot of guys contributed. We got great play defensively. There were a lot of big plays and we got a lot of momentum, so it was a fun day. Those don’t happen like that very often.”
Don’t just take Brady’s word for it. Brandon LaFell had a career high 11 catches for a career best 124 yards and a touchdown. With Gronkowski covered in the second quarter, Brady found the other tight end – Tim Wright – racing the other way across the back line of the end zone for an easy touchdown.
Nothing symbolized Gronkowski’s dominance on Sunday than his 46-yard ramble through the Bears secondary for his third touchdown of the day. He disposed of three would-be tacklers on his way to pay dirt.
“Sometimes you see Gronk go out there and make a play like he made and you turn into a fan real quick, so it was a lot of fun today,” LaFell said.
It would be his last catch of the day as he left with dehydration. “Just have to drink more,” Gronkowski said with a wide smile that broke into a giggle when he realized the delicious irony of his words.
|Mike Petraglia, Chris Price break down an epic game from Tom Brady, Rob Gronkowski, Brandon LaFell||at 8:06 pm ET|
FOXBORO — WEEI.com’s Mike Petraglia and Chris Price break down Patriots romp over Bears, as Tom Brady throws for 354 yards and five touchdowns in a 51-23 win at Gillette Stadium. The Patriots are now 6-2, and face Peyton Manning and the 6-1 Denver Broncos next Sunday for the top spot in the AFC.
|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.”