Post-Practice Media Availability
Thursday, October 10, 2013
Do you hope Rob Gronkowski is playing on the other sideline so you guys can match skills in the same game?
“I don’t know how we really match skills because we’re obviously two different offenses and two different defenses, but I am happy for him if he’s out there. I’ll be excited. I know how it feels to want to be out there and help your team. That’s hard on any player and you never wish for a player not to be playing. If he’s out there playing, I’ll be very happy for him.”
Has a defense been thrown at you that you haven’t seen yet?
“I would say there’s definitely been some different looks as far as being doubled, (with) safeties doing things they wouldn’t do in a normal cover two or having a guy stand over you and his sole job is to keep you on the ball. It’s gradually gotten more difficult. I’m just going to take what they give me. If it comes my way I’m going to try to catch it.”
Is there any special feeling for you playing the Patriots for the first time in the regular season given their recent success and track record?
“They’ve been one of the if not the best team in the NFL for a very long time. Their coach (Bill Belichick) is one of the greatest coaches to coach the game. I know it’s going to be a very challenging game. I know they’re going to be ready and they’re going to have a gameplan for everybody on offense and I’m definitely excited for the game.”
Do you have any type of reaction to when they put Rob Gronkowski back in the season finale in 2011, when the two of you were vying for the NFL receiving yardage record for a tight end?
“I don’t consider any time in the game (to be) garbage time. If you’re out there, someone’s got to stop you. I’m not sure how many yards he beat me by, but it’s his record. I’m happy for him.”
Is leading the league in time of possession a significant statistic for you and the offense?
“It’s a big stat. We talk about that every week, especially later in the game. When it’s the fourth quarter and maybe you are up, if you can run the ball and run some time off, you’re going to give them less time to make a play. For us, we have to talk about finishing a game. The number one thing we talk about is time of possession. The way to finish a game is with time of possession.”
Even with your run game’s numbers, but still lead the league in time of possession, does that make it a little more unusual?
“I think our running game’s coming along and I think that when there are times we need to run the ball, we have late in the game. That’s a big emphasis for us each week, trying to run it.”
Despite the attention by other teams, were you surprised to get ten catches Sunday?
I thought Chicago did do a lot of things differently, especially in the second half. They made a lot of adjustments at halftime. I had guys flying in front of my face. One time I got tackled when I didn’t have the ball. I expect that and I know guys are going to come by me. It’s my job to avoid it and try to make a play for the team.”
Have you met Rob Gronkowski?
“I’ve met him a couple times. He’s a good guy. We’ve talked quite a bit. He’s a fierce competitor and hopefully he’ll be there Sunday.”
How much do you have to tell
“Normally Drew sees it before they even do it. He alerts me throughout the week or sometimes I’ll come to him with questions like ‘what is that safety doing’ and he’ll explain ‘listen, they’re just making that up and this is what they’re going to do and this is how you have to beat it. That’s just the kind of quarterback he is. He helps me to be a better tight end.”
What do you mean by making it up?
“If a team’s playing cover two and the safety’s running over to your side, obviously that’s not cover two (but) everyone else is playing cover two. Certain defenses at halftime adjust to certain things. We’re running all go, they’re not going to leave the middle wide open with the linebacker in front of you, so they cheat on the safety. That just leads to the other guy one on one. You have to make a play.”
Do you take any satisfaction that they have to do that because of you and what you’ve done.
“I wish they wouldn’t. It would make things a lot easier. I feel like that’s difficult to do with our team because of our personnel, the weapons we have, the ability of Drew (Brees) to go from one to five, back to one and Sean Payton’s play-calling. He’s brilliant in how he understands that and how he is still able to get the guys he wants to open.”