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Rob Gronkowski Press Conference Transcript 10/27

Patriots Tight End Rob Gronkowski addresses the media during his press conference on Thursday, October 27, 2016.

Q: Based on your background, is going back to western New York something that you look forward to every year?

RG: Definitely. Whenever you're going back to your hometown to play the game you love just growing up it's an honor to go back and play in front of your friends, family, your teachers that you grew up with that taught you. Definitely an honor and it's always fun.

Q: How many extra requests from friend and family do you get during this game?

RG: I mean it always changes up but just a few. Just a couple friends and family that I still talk to and everything. Nothing outrageous; just a few.

Q: Would 20 be a good number?

RG: Yeah, right about there. Right around there.

Q: What would breaking the touchdown record of the Patriots mean to you?

RG: That's the last thing I'm thinking about right now. We've got a big game here. We've got the Buffalo Bills, going into Buffalo. The crowd is going to be super loud. They're always into it, lot of energy. That's the last thing I'm thinking about. When it happens, if it happens, there's another time to talk about it, but as of right now I'm just focused on the Bills. That's the last thing I want to talk about.

Q: What would getting into the end zone as you guys make plays mean to you?

RG: That's huge. Obviously that's a crucial part about winning a football game. You want to make plays. You want to drive the football. You want to have big chunk plays, not just five-yard runs, five-yard passes every play. You want some downfield plays to get the offense going, get the offense rolling. When you get into the red zone it's huge. It's the difference of four points from kicking a field goal or getting a touchdown which could be a focal point in the game. So finishing drives off, getting chunk plays in drives is always key. 

Q: Rex Ryan said he doesn't care for pregame scuffles between teams, yet his defensive backs say if you guys repeat that same routine they will push and shove again. How do you approach that as a team? Are you wary of that?

RG: We really haven't talked about that since it happened and I'm sure there's going to be no problems this week on either side of the ball. We've got a lot of respect for the Buffalo Bills, got a lot of respect for the organization. I just don't see any problems happening this game really. There's a lot of energy that needs to be focused on the game I would say on both sides of the ball.  

Q: Has there been a consistent way that Rex Ryan-coached defenses have tried to defend you or have they varied what they've done to you in-game?

RG: They've always varied what they've done. You never know what you're going to get going versus a Rex Ryan defense. Some games he brings no pressure, other games he's bringing the house every single play. You've just got to be ready at all times. You've got to be ready. You've got to study up all their coverages, all types of things, what they do because he's always going to vary it and you've just got to be ready for anything that's possible.

Q: How about with you individually? Did they try to get more physical with you at the line or does that vary during the game?

RG: I would say that varies, too. I've had some games where he's hit me off the line, double coverage there. I've had some games where I'm just single coverage on a linebacker or safety. You've just got to be ready for it all. I feel like he doesn't stick to one call the whole time. It's always varied. He's always doing a different call. Even if one time it works, I still feel like he likes to change it up. 

Q: Have you changed your game at all in any way to prevent injuries over the years? Is there anything you do differently while you're out there?

RG: Not really when I'm out on the field. You've always got to protect yourself whenever you can. You know, when the journey is done if you're running the ball just get down and don't take that extra shot. You can always show your toughness, you can have five guys take you down but really that's sometimes not the case. You really want to show that you just want to get down, you want to preserve your body for the next play when the journey is done and you're not going to get any more yards. Other than that, man, it's just basically taking care of your body off the field. Getting all the right work done so you're preventing the injury when you step out on the field.  

Q: Bill Belichick recently praised your route running. How hard have you had to work on that technique since you've been here?

RG: Big time. I've definitely had to work it out plenty since I've been here. To be successful in this organization and this offense you just got to be working on it big time. It's not just you just come in and you have it. From day one I remember I could barely even get open but just learning from Tom [Brady], from all my coaches here, it definitely helps out going out and focusing on your route detail. Sometimes necessarily you don't have to be the best skilled player out on the field to get open. It's just learning the game of football, how to get open, what move to make is definitely all part of it. 

Q: You talked about knowing when the journey is over. Is that something you knew in 2010, your first year here, or when did that become the case?

RG: It started coming in the last few years and everything. I remember a couple times my rookie year I just try and 'boom'. I remember I'd be like 'Oh, that one hurt.' It hurt to go one more inch. So definitely when the journey is over and you know you gave it all, you're not going to be able to carry five guys, sometimes not even two guys. Whenever you just feel like you need to get down, you need to get down. It's a physical game. Every play is going to be physical so save it for the next one.

Q: Do you recall that? Any time when that came to you?

RG: I mean it always came to me. Even my rookie year I remember a couple times I took a few shots my rookie year and I was like 'Woah.' You just got to get down when you know the journey is done.

Q: Coach Bill Belichick always talks about the importance of division games. Can you talk a little bit about this one with the Bills having won here already?

RG: Division games are huge, especially division games on the road – an even bigger game. They're crucial. They're in your division. You always want to go out and play your division tough. The Bills, they're always ready, they're always prepared every single time we play them. It's a four quarter game every single time. It always goes down to the last few minutes or the last play every single time we play them. Definitely one of the biggest games of the year so far going on the road versus a division team. The atmosphere is going to be loud and they already beat us too here. So it's going to be a big game. 

Q: You look 100 percent but do you feel like you're at the top of your game?

RG: I always feel like when I'm out on the field I always want to have that feeling that you're on top of your game. I mean that's always a good feeling to go out there and have that type of confidence. Every single week it takes work that you've got to put in on top of your game every single week. It's always a new week every week and it's what I put in during that week to feel like I'm on top of my game when it comes Sunday. As of right now I feel good for sure.  

Q: You've gone against Patrick Chung as collegians on opposite teams, you've practiced against him. How do you describe Patrick and his strength and his size?

RG: To describe Patrick [Chung], we always say we're like the same people.  He kind of has the same job as myself on offense. He goes around versus the tight ends. I'm going versus him, he's a safety. We're always banging all the time. He's the type of player that wants to get better every single week. I would definitely want to [give] some of my credit towards him on my success because every single time during training camp during the last four years we would go at it. He was just a great guy to always battle because we're in it for each other. I'm trying to make him a better player. Chung is always trying to make me a better player. We always give each other props, too, whenever the play is done. At the same time we never, ever 'patty cake' versus each other. We go super hard and we have total respect for each other as players, too, because of the physicality we bring to the table to go versus each other to make each other a better player. I love his game and I love the way he comes and prepares every single week. 

Q: Do you feel like you rely more on your technique in that regard to get open as opposed to size and speed?

RG: I try to use both. You don't want to just try and focus on one area. I'm not really going to outrun anyone in my mind but sometimes I feel like I can. So you can use it that time when I feel like I can outrun someone, but other times I don't feel like I can and I have to focus more on being able to focus on the route running ability. Just overall, you have to use it all to be successful and have it all in your game.  

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