Q: How much of a challenge is it this week with the holiday on top of it being a short week?
RG:Yeah, definitely another challenge brought upon us for this week. It's a little bit shorter of a week but no excuses about that. You've just got to be on top of your game more this week. Just preparation, rest, focus, and the Denver Broncos – they've got a solid team. They've got a very good defense so we've got to be mentally and physically prepared when it comes this Sunday.
Q: How hard is it for the offense to be creative with all the injuries you're dealing with?
RG:It's definitely a challenge and whenever you see a challenge you've got to rise up. Players have got to step in, other players have to take on bigger roles and whatever the coaches plan, whatever they design – just as a player, just got to go out there and perform to my best ability and do it well.
Q: What does Aqib Talib bring to the table as a defender?
RG:He's a great defender. He's a great player. He plays the football game well. He's physical, he's fast and he can cover. It's not just him. They have many other good players on defense, that's what makes them such a solid defense – one of the best defenses out there in the league right now – so you've got to be prepared for anyone at any time.
Q: Is Mile High Stadium one of the tougher places to play?
RG:It's definitely a tough place to play. You know their fans are going to be electric come Sunday night. It's always just tough going on the road and playing in the NFL on the road, so definitely going to be a challenge going out there and playing at Mile High this week.
Q: What kind of challenge does the pressure they bring off the edge present to you as a blocker?
RG:It's always challenging. Obviously in pass routes, I'm not always in there and working on that craft of pass blocking, just always got to be prepared for that. If the coach is asking me to do that I've got to step up. I've got to be able to pass block, bump my guy, whatever it is, to help out and give time to the quarterback and see other players make some plays on that.
Q: How much have you come to appreciate the term "mental toughness" since you've arrived here?
RG:I appreciate that term and respect that term to the max. Mental toughness is huge especially in the game of football and throughout life. Mental toughness is always crucial. You always take that into factor and always remember to always put the team first and do what you've got to do to get better as a player to go out there and help the team.
Q: How important is it to have a balanced offense this week?
RG:It's always important to have a balanced offense. You don't just want to be known as a pass team or known as a run team. You want to be able to do both. Every single week we know we practice hard and put a lot of emphasis on both the run game and the pass game.
Q: They seem to have a wide range of guys who can cover a tight end. Does that make this one of those weeks you have to study a bit more?
RG:Oh yeah, they've got plenty of guys that can cover, that can cover any type of player on their team. We've just got to like any other week study, and prepare for every guy, every situation, and be ready when it comes Sunday.
Q: What do you think of T.J. Ward as a player?
RG:He's a good player. He's physical, he's big, he knows how to play the game and he hits hard.
Q: What do you absolutely have to eat on Thanksgiving?
RG:Wow. Stuffing, that always goes good with the turkey. You don't want when someone makes a dry turkey you always need a cup of extra gravy or something on top of that. Stuffing always goes good. You put stuffing on top of whatever you're about to eat and it makes it delicious.
Q: Do you fear overeating because the holiday is in the middle of the week?
RG:No, there's mental toughness right there, right there baby. Knowing that you've got the huge pie in front of you and just only eating a little piece even though you want to eat the whole pie. Definitely know what your limit is because I know anyone in this locker room could put down like six pounds of food right there and come in the next day a little sluggish. You've got to focus on that and not do that. We're not going to eat six pounds of turkey. I mean, I'm not going to even though I want to. If it was the offseason I'd eat that whole pie.
Q: Is the Friday morning weigh-in the scariest one of the year?
RG:Do we [have one]? Hopefully we don't have a weigh-in Friday. No, it's not scary at all. Obviously we've got a routine, know what to have, know what to eat. I've been playing for six years and this is my sixth Thanksgiving during the season so just enjoy the food, enjoy your friends and family and have a good time but at the same time we're just focused on the Denver Broncos this week and we've definitely got to be prepared when it comes Sunday because it's going to be a huge game.
Rob Gronkowski Media Availability Transcript with the Denver Media
Q: Do you guys view the game any differently with Peyton Manning out? Is there any disappointment that he's not going to be playing?
RG:No, there's definitely no difference in preparation for our team. We've got to be prepared for anyone, anytime. I know our defense is prepared for whoever the Denver Broncos are going to put in there, so I'm just worried about the defense. They've got a very good defense. I've got to be prepared and ready to go come Sunday.
Q: How does being thin at receiver affect things for you?
RG:We've just got to focus this week. Seeing guys go down, other players just have to step up and focus harder, be more mentally and physically prepared and be ready to go come Sunday. Other players have got to come in and step up, know what's going on, get in the flow with the offense, everyone work together all week at practice and keep continuing to get better so we're ready on Sunday.
Q: How does that thinning receiving corps affect you? Are you being covered differently?
RG:I've been seeing all different types of coverages – getting doubled, whatever it is, singled, seen a defensive back, seen a safety or seen a linebacker. I've seen it all, and just throughout the week, just got to prepare for anything, prepare for every single player on their defense. They've got many good players who can cover and play the game of football well, so got to be ready for anything at any time.
Q: What kind of coverage works best on you?
RG:I mean any coverage can work best on me. It's all about my preparation and my preparedness of me coming out and being ready to go and being physically ready to go and get open. But I mean, obviously there are some better ones out there. But when you always get doubled a lot, those are definitely harder to get open. But just as myself, as a player I've got to be ready for anything and try and get open versus anything.
Q: Do you feel like you were a little bit flat in the beginning of the game against Buffalo?
RG:I think every game is different every single week. We just weren't clicking on every page. We've just got to see what we did wrong, work together as an offense and go out and get better. But I mean, the game was two days ago. I'm not really focusing on that one anymore. We've got the Denver Broncos now, so just worrying about working together this week, everyone coming together, everyone coming together strong on offense, working together so we can go out and be prepared to come out to Denver and face a really good football team.
Q: Are you looking at this game and thinking about how you'd like to play them in Foxboro instead of Denver in January?
RG:Oh man, we're not even thinking that far. We've got to just worry about them this week and put all our preparation into the game for Sunday night and not even look down the road.
Q: Does Tom Brady ever age?
RG:I don't think he ages to tell you the truth. It seems like he's always in his 20's ever since I've been here. He's a hard worker, great guy, great guy to play with.
Q: Does anyone have more fun playing football than you?
RG:I'm not sure. I mean I love playing with guys on my team that just love going out there and playing the game and just love going out there and competing. It's a lot of fun.
Q: Is it awesome being undefeated?
RG:It's pretty cool, but it really doesn't matter, man. We've just got to take one week at a time and just worry about our opponent that we have that week and not worry about any records.
Q: Do you worry at all about Brady coming in and facing Denver after all the hits he took on Monday night?
RG:I mean, Denver's got a very solid defense, their front line all the way to their secondary. But just as a player myself, I've just got to go out there and I've got to be prepared to do my job, whatever is called upon, to go out and do it to the best of my ability. And just as an offense as a whole, we've just got to come together, work out the kinks that we have and come out together and make sure we're mentally and physically prepared versus this team because they're so good that we've got to be on top of our game or else it won't go well.
Q: How do see the Broncos defense differently in regards to your preparation?
RG:What do you mean? Like different from other years we've played them? They're a very good team. They've always been a very good defense. They've got great players on their defense, and they play hard physically. They're physical players. They know how to play the game of football and it's just going to be fun and it's going to be a good football game because they're competitive and so are we. We've got to be prepared because we know they're bringing it.
Q: What do you think about the altitude?
RG:Not worried about that. It's all about going out there and doing what we've got to do. It is what it is. It's not like you can change it.
Q: The Broncos currently lead the league in personal foul penalties. As a player coming in, do you worry about how physical they can get?
RG:I look at it as a challenge. I definitely know that the Denver Broncos are physical. No doubt about that. From the D-line all the way to the secondary, they know how to play the game. Like I already said, they know how to play the game of football, and that means they come out, they hit, they're physical, they can tackle, they can do it all. So we've definitely just got to be prepared, step up to the challenge, and that's what makes the game of football and competitiveness so great. Just got to go out there and be ready, not just mentally but physically, too.
Q: What was the Gronkowski Thanksgiving table like growing up?
RG:Oh man, we always had it at my house growing up as kids, and the whole family would be there. But it was always pretty wild in that we always watched football, too, but we always played games within our family, too. We had like the mini hockey sticks in the house or throwing the football around the house, but it was alwaysmayhemand pretty hectic and just always a lot of fun.
Q: Would the football game outside turn into tackle pretty quick?
RG:Sometimes they played some games outside and it was always usually tackle. I don't think we ever really played touch. I was always the youngest, but I still was, you know, making those tackles on my older brothers and their friends.
Q: How much dialogue have you had over the season with referees about how physical things get with you downfield on a play-by-play basis?
RG:Yeah, just throughout the game, just talk to the officials sometimes. They come up to you, I go up to them before, but most of all they just let you play the game of football, let the defense play the game of football. And it's just a challenge that I've got to step up and rise to. If I'm getting hit at the line, getting hit by the linebacker, if their trying to play football, I mean, that's what's cool about the game is all the hitting, all the physicality. You've just got to go with the flow. If it's a physical game, I've got to step up and I've got to rise to that challenge, but it's never going to be just free off the line and just run around. I know that, so I've just got to prepare all week so I'm ready to go for whatever on Sundays.
Q: Do you enjoy going up against a guy like T.J. Ward or Aqib Talib?
RG:They're both great players. Aqib is top of the line, and Ward is an unbelievable player, too. So it's definitely going to be challenge this week to go versus them, whoever is covering, and just throughout the run game, too.
Q: What was your favorite thing you did this offseason after the Super Bowl?
RG:To tell you the truth, my favorite was actually the parade here. That was a lot of fun and just the support the city of Boston had for us out there in the parade and everyone just coming out and riding around in those duck boats was actually one of the coolest moments out.
Q: Are you the best tight end of all time?
RG:Man, I just try to focus and be the best player I can be.
Q: That's a cliché. Give us the truth.
RG:Hey, I'm just trying to get better every week, man.