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Rob Gronkowski: Day 1 Training Camp Transcript 7/28

Patriots Tight End, Rob Gronkowski, addresses the media during his interview at Gillette Stadium on Wednesday July 28th, 2016.

Q: What do you think of Nate Ebner going to the Olympics?

RG: It's unbelievable. He's a hard worker, Nate Ebner. [He's] always on top of his game out here. I know he played rugby before he came to the NFL, so huge props for him; amazing accomplishment. So best of luck to him and hopefully he brings home that gold and then joins our team. That would be awesome.

Q: What's it like to put pads back on and get back to football?

RG: It feel's great, even though it's not full pads yet, it feels great to come back out and compete. When you get off five or six months and you're not competing as an athlete you want to get back out on the field. You want to be competing and it felt great to go back out there, be with the team, get the chemistry going – which I felt like it was rolling a little bit today. It felt really good. Back to football, I love it.

Q: What do the fans add to the experience here at training camp?

RG: The fans add a lot. We [have capacity crowds at] all these practices which is super cool. You've got to give huge credit to our fans. They're always there during practice, during games, during tough times, during the good times. You've got to give them huge credit. [Capacity] crowd, I don't even know how many it holds there, but they're always cheering. Even if it's a dropped pass they're cheering, which makes it's funny and gets you through practice. Hopefully, they keep on staying loud and proud.

Q: What's it like dealing with the difference at quarterback going into the season? Is that a big difference?

RG: No, it's not a difference at all. It's not a change at all. Its training camp, it's not going to be any different. You take reps with every single quarterback – Jacoby [Brissett], Tom [Brady], Jimmy [Garoppolo] – whoever it is, every single year in camp. It's not like I just sit there and go with the same players every single time. I'm rotating with the quarterbacks and that's how I feel it's going to be throughout the time. However it is, it is. It's all in the coach's decision. What I've got to do is just make sure I'm prepared and get open on the route, whoever the quarterback is.

Q: How confident are you in Jimmy taking over and being the starting quarterback?

RG: We're super confident in whoever's in there and that's what practice is for, that's what training camp is for, for everyone to get on the same page. It's great to get the first day, get our feet wet a little bit, get reps with everyone, all three quarterbacks. So far, it's going well but [there's] a lot to improve on, for sure. I definitely can myself, add a lot to my game. [I] had about one or two dropped passes there, so I've got to make sure I limit those down and that doesn't happen.

Q: How has Martellus Bennett been?

RG: He's great. He's a great guy to work with. He's football smart. He came in, he's picked up the playbook very well, which is super, super beneficial here in our offense, so that's super good to see. It's fun working with him. It's another guy that is just super talented and wants me to push harder, too. I can take things from his game, seeing his athleticism, seeing how he gets off the ball. I can bring it into my game, use some of his routes, he can come use some of mine, so it's great to work off of each other and great to be able to work with.

Q: Who should start the first preseason game?

RG: That's all up to the Coach [Bill Belichick's] decision. Whoever starts preseason one, whoever starts preseason two, all of that. It's all Coach's decision on who starts and all that. I've just got to prepare myself to be the best player that I can be so that whoever it is I'm ready to roll out there.

Q: What's the primary focus when you work off to the side with Tom Brady and Martellus Bennett?

RG: The primary focus is just getting everyone on the same page. It's the first practice. It's really the first time we truly get our feet wet all together, everyone gets the same chemistry, get our body flows, get our body movements, see how fast we are, see where Tom throws the ball. I've been doing it with him for seven years now, so we kind of have the same chemistry right when we hit the field. I know where he's going to usually put it. I know that he knows where I'm going to be, but obviously my rookie year I didn't know that and as Marty [Martellus Bennett] is being kind of a rookie here, it's cool to see everyone work together, help each other out, and just go over and get some extra work. There's no such thing as [too much work], so it's always good to put in extra work and get more reps, as many as possible.

Q: How was your charitable trip to Maine a few weeks ago?

RG: It was cool. [We] gave 30,000 [dollars] to the Gorham, Maine, youth kids. It was cool. They were all appreciative of it. They all got new equipment, new everything. To keep the youth programs going they got 150 new sets of pads, jerseys, all of that, so it was super cool.

Q: Did you notice a difference in Tom Brady today in his first practice back since dropping legal action?

RG: Whatever circumstance you put Tom in, he's never going to change because he comes out to practice no matter what – if he's suspended, if he's not suspended, if he's playing, if he's not playing – no matter what the circumstances are I've never seen Tom Brady come out and not give it all in practice. There's never any change in him. Whenever he's out on the field he's giving it all and he's just such a competitor.

Q: What was your reaction when you heard that Tom decided to drop his appeal?

RG: I've just got to be the best player that I can be and worry about what I've got to do to help out the team, and be the best team out there we can be, and the best player I can be out there on the field to help out the team.

Q: Do you think it was fair?

RG: Come on. Is that a question?

Q: How do you translate your chemistry with Tom into the same type of relationship with Jimmy Garoppolo?

RG: It definitely started two years ago. That's the whole point of not just focusing and practicing with one person. That's the whole point of training camp. That's the whole point of practices. I've gone with Jimmy many times, threw with him one - on - one many times out at practice. So, to just get that chemistry going we've just got to go out on the field, get reps together, go do one - on - one sessions together, just throw like we do and we always do. Just like any other process, repetitions with each other so that everyone's on the same page.

Q: What makes Jimmy special?

RG: Just his power of the ball, his accuracy going out there. The way he moves the pocket; I like how he can scramble out and keep it going if everything's not going right. He's just a competitor, a hard worker, which is always great, which always goes good with the team when you have someone that wants it and goes out there and competes.

Q: Does he scramble better than Tom?

RG: No one makes better scrambled eggs than me.

Q: Why is chemistry with Jimmy so important in training camp?

RG: It's always important. Obviously, he's going to be going in the first four games as you speak to Coach. So, it's huge to get these reps in now. Not just day one, not wait until week 3, not wait until week 4 of training camp. It's important to get on the same page now and that's what is so crucial about coming out to practice, coming out to training camp on day one and just hitting it on the ground getting going.

Q: How did Coach Belichick address the team about the situation at quarterback?

RG: Coach just told us that Jimmy is going to be the starter week one through four and then Tom is going to be coming in at week five and the rest; you can just ask Coach Belichick about.

Q: Knowing Tom, how difficult is it going to be for him those first four weeks?

RG: I'm not worried about that right now. It's day one of training camp. It's not even August yet. [I'm] just worried about getting better as a player out there on the field and staying in the best football shape that I can.

Q: How is your conditioning going right now?

RG: It's great. I felt good out there today. I just had to work hard throughout the summer. It's always tough to get back into football shape. I'm not going to lie and say I'm in top notch shape, no chance. I've still got a long way to go. I don't feel like anybody can be in top notch football shape when you first get out there, and that's what training camp is for and that's why it's a long process. Every single day you've got to push yourself through it so that in a couple of weeks when you step out on the field everything is just natural and you're in shape and you're not out of breath and it just feels normal.

Q: We saw you drop a couple of rare passes today. How frustrated are you when that happens?

RG: Definitely frustrating for those couple of seconds, but you definitely have to move on to the next play. But I've got to definitely limit those. Hopefully, those just happen today. If we see more then I don't know, you can write those down, 'Another dropped pass.' Hopefully, they don't happen in games. Getting them out now, that's what I'm doing.

Q: How was team chemistry today overall?

RG: It was good. Everything felt good, felt good to be out there. Obviously, [there is] a lot to work on, a lot to improve on every time. That's the game of football. Everything's not always perfect. It was just great competitiveness on both sides of the ball.

Q: How exciting is it to just get back out there and start hitting people today?

RG: It's super exciting to get back out there and work, to compete, is just huge. Instead of just running routes on air, just going with the quarterbacks, it's great to go out there seven - on - seven, team drills and compete. [It's] so much fun out there. It's cool just seeing everyone get back on the same page, working hard together, seeing what you have to improve on, going in now and watching it and then coming back out tomorrow and improving.

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