|Rob Gronkowski fined $8,268 for block on Sergio Brown||11.21.14 at 4:09 pm ET|
That wasn’t his only penalty coming from the play.
Gronkowski was fined $8,268 by the NFL on Friday for unnecessary roughness after the whistle.
“He was just yappin’ at me the whole time,” Gronkowski told NBCSN after the Patriots beat the Colts, 42-20. “So I took him and threw him out of the club.”
Gronkowski and the Patriots will host the Lions Sunday at Gillette Stadium.
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1. In stark contrast to the nasty words that were coming out of the Pittsburgh locker room in the wake of what happened with LeGarrette Blount over the last week, on Thursday, the vibe around the Patriots was all good when it came to the newest Patriot. Special teams captain Matthew Slater called him a “great teammate,” while fullback James Develin said it was “good” to have him back. Meanwhile, Jonas Gray — who likely will see his role shrink some with the addition of Blount — said he had no problem with the move, adding that the veteran is is a “great guy to learn from.” As for what sort of role awaits him, it’s likely he’ll split duties with Gray as the primary between-the-tackles back, as well as serve as some sort of insurance policy if the stage gets too big for the youngster, or if he puts the ball on the ground at some point. It’s also possible he sees time as a part-time kick returner — with the occasional exception of Danny Amendola, no one has really done much to distinguish themselves in the position. With his background last year, it certainly makes sense for the Patriots to give him a shot back there.
2. Few teams have seen the type of turnover at the running back position as New England. With the injury to Ridley, if form holds, the Patriots will have their sixth different back lead the team in rushing in 2014 over the last decade — only four other teams (Saints, Browns, Broncos and Cardinals) have had more. Corey Dillon (2004-2006), Laurence Maroney (2007, 2009), Sammy Morris (2008), BenJarvus Green-Ellis (2010-2011) and Stevan Ridley (2012-2013). And now, with Ridley on the shelf the rest of the year, this season it figures to be either Vereen, Gray or Blount. That could change again next year, as Brandon Bolden, Ridley and Shane Vereen are all in the final year of their contracts, while Blount, Gray and rookie James White are all under contract for 2015. (In addition, Tyler Gaffney, who was claimed by the Patriots this summer but is spending the year on injured reserve because of a knee issue, is still a possibility to be a part of the mix next season.) Regardless, even with all the changes, things could still change between now and the start of next season.
3. As forward thinking as the Patriots offense — and the passing game in particular — has been the last few years, there’s something impressively retro about what New England might be able to do this season. If we operate with the idea that a “running back by committee” includes a team with four backs with at least 40 carries, it appears that for the second straight season, the Patriots will attempt to be the first team to win a Super Bowl using the “running back by committee” approach since the 1987 Redskins, who won Super Bowl. Right now, the Patriots three different backs reach with at least 69 carries (Ridley with 94, Vereen with 70 and Gray with 69). While some of those numbers are borne out of necessarily since Ridley went down, if Blount is able to click down the stretch for New England — and it’s entirely possible he can hit the 40-carry mark, given his experience in the system — he would be a fourth. If the Patriots could take the title, it would represent the greatest cross-section of work for running backs for any Super Bowl champion since that Washington team emerged with a win in Super Bowl XXII. (Of course, that Redskins team could be discounted on a penalty, as that was a strike year and one of the backs was a scab who rushed 80 times in three strike games but never played another down. If you disqualify them on a technicality, them the last true RBBC team to win a Super Bowl in a non-strike year was the 1981 Niners, a team that had five different backs finish with 40 carries or more: Ricky Patton, Earl Cooper, Johnny Davis, Walt Easley and Paul Hofer.)
|Jim Caldwell on Rob Gronkowski: ‘Very, very unusual gifts that he has’||11.19.14 at 5:31 pm ET|
Christmas is more than a month away, but Lions head coach Jim Caldwell is already talking about gifts.
Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski has been on a tear the past six games with 40 catches for 587 yards and six touchdowns. Over that span Gronkowski has been able to showcase his pass catching abilities, as well being able to run after the catch — no bigger example than his 26-yard touchdown catch late in the fourth quarter of Sunday’s win over the Colts.
“He’s obviously a great talent, just an incredible run, particularly when you look at the one he had against Indianapolis,” Caldwell said on a conference call Wednesday. “He can catch the ball, and not only is he a fine pass catcher, but he can also run with it after he gets it. Very, very unusual gifts that he has.”
Gronkowski isn’t the only player Caldwell and the Lions are worried about, as he also spoke on quarterback Tom Brady.
“Obviously, he’s been doing some great things like he always does,” he said. “They are a very surgical sort of a procedure, where he’s throwing the ball accurately, getting it to all of his playmakers and putting points on the board.”
Sunday’s game will feature the Patriots offense, which is averaging 45.3 points in its last three games, against a Lions defense who comes in allowing an NFL-low 15.6 points per game. Caldwell, in his first season with Detroit, knows it will be a challenge.
|Tom Brady on D&C: ‘There’s nothing [Rob Gronkowski] can’t do’||11.18.14 at 8:06 am ET|
Patriots quarterback Tom Brady made his weekly appearance with Dennis & Callahan on Tuesday morning and talked about Rob Gronkowski, last Sunday’s win over the Colts and looked ahead to this week’s game against the Lions. To hear the interview, go to the Dennis & Callahan audio on demand page.
Gronkowski has showed no signs of being slowed down after tearing his ACL last December. After getting back to 100 percent, the tight end has been on a tear of late — over his last six games he has caught 40 passes for 587 yards and six touchdowns.
“He surprises me all the time, just what his ability is,” Brady said. “He’s just got incredible ability to make catches, runs, the way he blocks, just as a teammate — there’s nothing he can’t do. It’s so fun to play with people like that. Gronk has been a guy I’ve loved playing with since I’ve been here, he’s just a phenomenal player, phenomenal athlete. He’s a tough matchup for everybody because he’s big, fast, athletic and he has a great attitude. It’s the whole package with him and the biggest issue that he’s had is staying on the field and that is hard for a lot of people, and I think he’s really worked hard to put himself in a position where he can be on the field, so it’s been great to see.”
Gronkowski hasn’t played a full season each of his last two seasons because of injury, so some have suggested the tight end be more cautious on the field when it comes to avoiding some hits. When asked about Gronkowski’s 26-yard touchdown catch in the fourth quarter where he dodged seemingly the entire Colts secondary, Brady said that wasn’t a play to avoid such hits, but did add there is a time when it is beneficial to avoid such hits.
“I think there is definitely times to play it safe and there is other times not to, and I don’t think that was one of those times,” Brady said. “The game was still a two-score game and we were trying to really put the nail in the coffin. You don’t want to go — and I’ve talked with other players over the years about — it’s great to try and gain extra yards and all those things, but it’s also to put yourself at the risk — like cutting back into seven guys on defense and taking a big hit to gain an extra yard and get knocked out of the game and knocked out of next weeks game, and maybe knocked out of the week after that. Those things don’t make sense to me.
“Part of being a smart football player is making smart decisions and you have to evaluate the situation and you have to try and make a smart one. We all try and do that on our particular plays, with our particular job and what we’re asked to do, but at the same time doing things that are in your … you can’t help the team if you’re not out there playing. In that particular situation Gronk made a great stiff-arm and cut back, really ran through the secondary, which was awesome. That is what he thought he needed to do and that is what he did. That was a great play and a great way to really end the game in a way.”
|Tedy Bruschi on D&H: ‘[Rob] Gronkowski is the best tight end I’ve ever seen’||11.17.14 at 6:48 pm ET|
Tedy Bruschi tries to maintain some sense of journalistic detachment while watching football games as an NFL analyst for ESPN. But even though he’d picked the Colts to beat the Patriots on Sunday night, the former New England linebacker couldn’t help himself in the middle of the game.
“The Colts attempted to be tough. They attempted to come back and punch back, but the Patriots took out their heart and they left it by a TV camera,” Bruschi said, referencing Rob Gronkowski bulldozing Indianapolis safety Sergio Brown on a Jonas Gray rushing touchdown. “I picked the Colts to win, but was I high-fiving my kids when Gronk threw that kid on the TV camera? Absolutely. It was awesome to see, and just to see the toughness of [Julian] Edelman and the toughness of Gronkowski and just this team to respond the way it did was a great sign for this team.
“I don’t think anyone on the team had a problem with that [penalty],” added Bruschi. “It just took me back when I saw Gronk throw that kid into that TV camera. That made me fired up and that old Patriot in me came out.”
Bruschi suggested that teams have yet to find a successful formula for handling Gronkowski. Indeed, Bruschi suggested that the tight end is the best player he’s ever seen at the position. Read the rest of this entry »
|Sergio Brown falls for fake Jonas Gray account, trash-talks Rob Gronkowski, has all-around rough day on Twitter||at 4:22 pm ET|
First Brown got duped by a fake Jonas Gray account and later deleted his response to said fake account.
‘ John Feitelberg (@JFeitelberg) November 17, 2014
Later in the day, Brown decided to rant against Gronkowski, claiming that he “put straps on that boy” and that Gronk blocked him out of bounds in an act of frustration because he “can’t do [poop emoji] inbetween the whistle”. Brown deleted the series of tweets a few minutes after concluding his rant, but thankfully screen grabs exist.
‘ PatriotsSB49 (@PatriotsSB49) November 17, 2014
We’ll let you know if anything else pops up on Brown’s Twitter feed.
Following up on a column we wrote last week about the Patriots, their options in short yardage situations and how it all relates to their running game, it was interesting to see how New England approached things offensively Sunday night against the Colts. In all, the Patriots faced third down on 12 occasions against Indianapolis, and were able to convert in nine of those situations. Here’s a breakdown of what happened on each third-down situation (eight pass attempts, three runs, and one other):
3rd and 7 — 9-yard pass to Julian Edelman for first down
3rd and 1 — Jonas Gray run for 20 yards for first down
3rd and 3 — incomplete pass to Tim Wright
3rd and 3 — 20-yard pass to Rob Gronkowski for first down
3rd and 10 — 13-yard pass to Julian Edelman for first down
3rd and 1 — intercepted pass for Rob Gronkowski
3rd and 1 — Jonas Gray run for 2 yards for first down
3rd and 6 — 26-yard pass to Brandon LaFell for first down
3rd and 3 — 16-yard pass to Rob Gronkowski for first down
3rd and 2 — Indianapolis penalties yield first down
3rd and 4 — 26-yard pass to Rob Gronkowski for touchdown
3rd and 4 — Jonas Gray run for 5 yards for first down
When it came to 3rd and 3 or less — our definition of “gotta have it” yards, New England faced those scenarios on seven occasions Sunday. The Patriots ran in twice (handoffs to Gray, which produced runs of 20 and 2 yards) and threw it four times (including two 26-yard pass plays, one to Gronkowski and another to LaFell), with a seventh play ending in a penalty. It’s important to note that matchups and situational football often dictate play calling, but it was interesting to see them lean more on the passing game than on the backfield in those situations. (As a team, they were 5-for-7 on third down in those short-yardage situations.) As Gray (presumably) become a bigger part of their game plan as the season continues, 3rd and short will be worth monitoring to see if the running game becomes more of a factor in those situations.