|D.J. Williams: Picking up Patriots offense is like picking up an attractive woman||12.11.13 at 2:53 pm ET|
FOXBORO — If things don’t work out for him as Rob Gronkowski‘s replacement, Patriots tight end D.J. Williams might want to try the stand-up circuit.
He was en fuego Wednesday as he compared picking up the Patriots offense to charming an attractive woman of Hispanic descent.
“It’s just the terminology,” Williams said. “The concepts are pretty much the same. It’s just called different. It’s like trying to pick up Spanish. This offense is very attractive and if you found a very attractive Hispanic lady, you’d pick it up pretty quick.
“I’ll get in trouble for that. Just have a good time. That’s all it is.”
The good time for Williams in New England began on Nov. 27 when the Patriots signed him as insurance when Michael Hoomanawanui went down with a knee injury. When Hooman came back from injury, Williams was released. Then Gronkowski went down for the season on Sunday with a right knee injury and the Patriots went back to Williams.
“It’s huge. Being here before, getting a little head start, now I’m able to break the huddle and know if I need to go right or left,” Williams said tongue-in-cheek. “So, that’s a big start. I’m glad I’ve got that down. I guess I could go back down and mess that up but no where but up from here.”
Williams, 25, played in seven games with one start for Jacksonville this season before being released by the Jaguars on Nov. 4. The 6-foot-2, 245-pounder originally entered the NFL as a fifth-round draft pick (101st overall) by Green Bay out of Arkansas in 2011. Williams was waived by Green Bay on Aug. 31, and claimed off waivers and awarded to Jacksonville on Sept. 1. He has played in 34 NFL games with three starts and has nine receptions for 70 yards. Williams has yet to be active for a Patriots game.
“The carryover sometimes hits me,” Williams continued. “Even today [Wednesday] in the meeting room, we were going over one play and I was having a hard time understanding it. Matt Mulligan, he was with me at Green Bay, he said, ‘It’s like so-and-so this play.’ I was like, ‘Oh, makes sense now.’ It’s good having him here too to help me figure out the similarities between two different offenses.”
What really helps Williams is the way Tom Brady approaches all players in the meeting rooms and on the field.
“The way he approaches us in the huddle,” Williams said. “In the meeting rooms, he’ll say, ‘I need you to do this.’ Usually, he’s talking to Rob when he’s doing that. Nothing’s changed and he expects us to be able to step up and play. And we expect it from ourselves, too. So, it’s good to know that our quarterback can have trust in us to get out there and make plays.”
Williams said he gave some thought to hanging around New England the first time he was released on Dec. 4 but decided to spend some time with the family.
“I thought about it just to see what was going to happen,” Williams said. “But I didn’t have my car or anything here and I was going to get bored. So, I figured I’d go home and enjoy the good weather and got caught in an ice storm in Arkansas. I had a lot of time to spend with my mom. She enjoyed it a lot.”
|Danny Amendola on Rob Gronkowski: ‘We’ve got his back’||12.08.13 at 7:12 pm ET|
FOXBORO — No matter of the result of Monday’s MRI on the right knee of Rob Gronkowski, Patriots receiver Danny Amendola says the team has his back during whatever recovery period is needed.
“We’ve got his back, that’s for sure. Gronk’s a leader on the team. He’s one of the best. We’ve got his back whenever he comes back. It’s frustrating to see him go down. You feel for him.”
The very next play after Gronk’s injury in the third quarter, with the Patriots already trailing 12-0, Tom Brady was strip-sacked and lost the ball. The Patriots, understandably, seemed to have the emotional wind knocked out of them.
“You feel for a guy that gets injured,” Amendola said. “You play the game hard and you fight for four quarters. Unfortunately, it’s a physical game and stuff like that happens but he’ll bounce back and I’m sure he’ll be great again as soon as possible.”
One way to get a teammate’s back is to make plays and pick up the slack. That’s exactly what Amendola did on, getting open for the 1-yard TD pass reception on a Brady rollout to his right.
“It’s a play we work on every day in practice, actually,” Amendola said. “They manned it up, and we did a good job of executing. It was a good play.
“We found ourselves behind, and all we wanted to do was focus on executing the plays at hand, and one play at a time, and that’s all you can do at that time. You try to make as many plays as you can, try to stack them up and put a drive together.”
If nothing else, the Patriots showed – for one game – they have the mental toughness to overcome the loss of one of the best offensive weapons in the game, digging out of a 12-point hole in the final 61 seconds.
“We just tried to execute the plays we work on in practice and tried to make as many plays as we could,” Amendola said. “Situational football, get out of bounds and stop the clock, move the ball, try to get in the end zone.”
Another player who had Gronk’s back was kicker Stephen Gostkowski, who executed the first successful onside kick by the Patriots since 1995, when Bill Parcells‘ Patriots turned the trick against Bill Belichick‘s Browns. The kick with under a minute left set up Amendola’s game-winning touchdown.
“It was fantastic,” Amendola said of Gostkowski’s kick. “Those specialists work so hard on their craft and kicks, and I’m sure Gost [Stephen Gostkowski] was really excited about it. It was a big play – play of the game.”
FOXBORO — Rob Gronkowski had to be carted off the field Sunday midway through the third quarter after taking a vicious shot to his lower right leg. Pro Football Talk reports that an MRI is scheduled for Monday but the initial reports are “not looking good” on his right knee. Mike Garafolo of Fox Sports (via twitter) cited a source in claiming that the tight end “suffered what’s believed to be a torn ACL.”
Gronkowski caught a 21-yard seam route pass to the Cleveland 34. Cleveland strong safety T.J. Ward came in low and drilled him in the right knee area and Gronkowski went down immediately and did not move.
Patriots training staff raced onto the field to examine the knee before a cart was called onto the field after a delay of several minutes.
Gronkowski, who had two catches for 32 yards on five targets, left the game on the cart, accompanied by team medical director Tom Gill. Since coming back from his back and forearm surgeries against the Jets on Oct. 13, Gronkowski has 39 catches for 592 yards and four touchdowns.
The Patriots announced several minutes later that Gronkowski had suffered a leg injury and would not return.
MRI tomorrow for Rob Gronkowski (knee) but initial testing “not encouraging,” per source. “Not looking good,” source said.
— ProFootballTalk (@ProFootballTalk) December 8, 2013
|Rob Gronkowski feels ‘bad,’ apologizes for racially insensitive comment about Asian fan||11.15.13 at 2:13 pm ET|
FOXBORO — A humble Rob Gronkowski apologized for offending anyone with his comments on a video that went viral this week on TMZ.com. In the video, Gronkowski is seen calling an Asian man named “Joe” up to the stage in a restaurant and asking him to dance.
The fan, seen in the video wearing a Patriots No. 87 jersey, joked with Gronkowski and the crowd that he can’t dance but he can cook fried rice.
Gronkowski was seen in the video repeating the words of the man, creating an instant controversy.
On Friday, the Patriots tight end apologized for anyone who might have been offended by his comments, which appeared to be taken out of context in the TMZ video.
“I feel bad, personally,” Gronkowski said. “I feel bad. I talked to Joe and he assured me he took no offense in any way. I know others did and I apologize to those who took offense. He’s a good guy and he’s a friend of mine. He’s a good dude.”
Asked if he were tired of the videos that have gone viral involving famous athletes, Gronkowski replied, “I’m here to talk only about the Panthers.”
|Rob Gronkowski: ‘I’m mad at myself’ for fourth-quarter drop||10.20.13 at 7:09 pm ET|
EAST RUTHERFORD — By all accounts, Rob Gronkowski made a successful return to the playing field Sunday.
Playing for the first time since three offseason surgeries on his left forearm and a back surgery, Gronkowski caught eight passes on 17 targets from Tom Brady, gained 114 yards and even hauled in a patented 30-yard seam route that set up New England’s first touchdown.
But it was the pass he didn’t haul in that will give him nightmares.
With the Patriots driving for the potential game-winning touchdown at the New York 26, Brady saw Gronkowski behind the defense all alone on a first-down play. Brady put the ball in a spot only Gronkowski could reach. The tight end got a firm right hand on the ball and appeared to bring it down into his body for a catch.
But Gronkowski lost control and it fell to the ground for an incompletion with 30 seconds remaining. Three plays later, the Patriots settled for a 44-yard Stephen Gostkowski field goal. The Patriots would fall in overtime, 30-27.
“I’m mad at myself,” Gronkowski said. “I had it. I brought it in, then I dropped it. I have to work there hard in practice. I have to catch more balls in practice.”
Gronkowski also had another chance at a touchdown earlier, but he appeared to lose a Brady pass at the goal line in the sun.
“I didn’t see the ball at all, but that’s no excuse,” Gronkowski said. “You have to be prepared for situations like that. I have to do a better job there. It was a nice throw and could have been a great play.
“We moved the ball well at times. But you have to move the ball well at all times. We have to make more plays. Personally, I have to come down with some of those passes. I could have had some of them, and I have to catch them in the future.”
But overall, no one could complain about the clear impact Gronkowski had on the offense. Brady could see how much the passing game opened up with No. 87 back on the field in uniform.
“Oh, of course,” Brady said. “He’s one of the best players in the NFL. You saw what he did today. It’s his first game back. All of us have to do a better job.”
As for Gronk himself?
“I feel good,” he said. “I just have to keep working hard every week. I have a lot to improve on. It’s football and you’re running around a lot so, yes, you get fatigued. That’s something I have to work on in practice and get my conditioning up.”
|Rob Gronkowski: ‘I’m not going to just make a decision [to return] by myself’||10.17.13 at 1:30 pm ET|
FOXBORO — Rob Gronkowski made one thing perfectly clear Thursday. Whenever he returns, it will be a group decision.
Gronkowski said when he does return it will be a decision made in conjunction with the team’s medical staff and coach Bill Belichick.
“It’s basically myself, the doctors and just talking with the coaches, especially coach Belichick to see how everything is going. We talk all the time on how everything is going. Me and him have been on the same page the whole time, ever since the beginning and the decision will be made eventually.”
Gronkowski was wearing a black jersey in practice, handed out to players who stand out for their work during the week of preparation. His locker mate Matthew Mulligan was also wearing one.
Gronkowski was asked if he would be back on the field if the decision to return was his alone.
“I wouldn’t say that because you have to go through the process of asking the doctors and everything,” Gronkowski said. “So, I’m not just going to make a decision by myself. That’s why you have a whole organization to work together.”
As for his agent – Drew Rosenhaus – going on WQAM Radio in Miami and saying that the tight end has yet to be cleared, Gronkowski referred all questions to his coach.
“Gotta ask coach, coach Belichick on that one. He’ll know,” Gronkowski said.
|Patriots practice Friday: Tommy Kelly, Leon Washington missing third straight day||10.11.13 at 11:39 am ET|
FOXBORO — Tommy Kelly and Leon Washington missed their third straight practice on Friday while linebacker Jamie Collins returned as the Patriots worked out in sweats and shells on the upper grass fields outside Gillette Stadium.
Kelly left Sunday’s game in the fourth quarter holding his right knee and limped off the field. Washington suffered an ankle injury and was replaced by Devin McCourty in the kick return game. With both missing their third straight practice, it’s unlikely either player will suit up for Sunday’s game against the Saints.
On Wednesday, in an effort to add depth along the defensive line, which is already without Vince Wilfork for the rest of the season, the team signed former Panthers defensive tackle Andre Neblett. Neblett has been at practice all three days and could make his debut on Sunday.
As for Rob Gronkowski, Adam Schefter reports that Dr. James Andrews has not signed off on allowing the tight end to return. Gronkowski was on the practice field again on Friday but practice was closed to the media immediately following stretching.
There is less optimism today than there was earlier this week that Rob Gronkowski will play Sunday vs. New Orleans. Still not cleared by Dr.
— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) October 11, 2013
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