NFL Wire News

Patriots TE Gronkowski on record pace


The Sports Xchange

FOXBOUROUGH, Mass. – New England Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski has always been a physical beast. It’s why he made big plays in his one real season at Arizona and then immediately became one of the best in the NFL as a rookie second-round pick.

But as the All-Pro matures, he’s adding experience to his freakish athletic skills, which he says is the biggest changes he’s undergone as a pro.

“The biggest growth and development is just learning the game of football, just getting used to the speed, going out every single day at practice and just getting the feel for the game,” Gronkowski said. “Just when you first step out there as a rookie, everything is going full speed – the play call in the huddle, the lining up. You feel like everything is so quick, but throughout the years everything slows down. You understand the game more. You understand the position, how to use your body, how to get open, how to block, everything, so just developing overall as a player and just learning the game a lot more.”

Gronkowski is second on the Patriots with 40 catches, but leads the team with 646 yards, a 16.2-yard average and seven touchdowns in seven games. He’s on pace for 1,477 yards, which would surpass his own NFL record for receiving yards by a tight end of 1,327 set in 2011.

“I would just say just the understanding of football and the development of the playbook,” Gronkowski responded when asked the area of his game he’s most proud of. “When I first got here, I definitely wouldn’t deny it. I definitely had a little struggle going, didn’t know the whole playbook, just throughout that, learning it and kept on going out to practice definitely helped me out and developed me as a player.”

NOTES: C Bryan Stork (concussion) practiced once again on Wednesday as the Patriots prepared for the Washington Redskins. The second-year player has missed the first seven games on injured reserve with a designation to return, and is eligible to be added to the active roster as early as Sunday’s game against Washington. … T Marcus Cannon (toe) did not practice, having now missed three-plus weeks of game and practice action to the injury. … G Tre’ Jackson (knee) did not practice on Wednesday due to the injury he suffered late in last Thursday night’s win over Miami. … DE Jabaal Sheard (ankle) continues to be absent from the practice field due to the injury suffered in Week 6 in Indianapolis. … WR Julian Edelman (knee) is a new addition to the Patriots injury report. New England’s leading receiver was limited in Wednesday practice action. … OL Ryan Wendell (knee) was limited in practice. The veteran just return to game action in Week 7 after missing the first month-plus of the season due to an unspecified illness, that after missing the entire offseason following post-Super Bowl shoulder surgery.

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