Read the full transcript from Rob Gronkowski's press conference on Wednesday, October 17, 2018.
PATRIOTS TIGHT END ROB GRONKOWSKI
October 17, 2018
Q: How good is this Bears defense?
RG: They're good. They're talented. They've got great players on the defensive line, they can stop the run, they can get to the quarterback. So we've got to be ready. We've got to be prepared mentally and physically.
Q: You guys have been good on the road in the past, but this year, you're yet to win on the road. How do you go about breaking through to get that first win?
RG: Yes, I mean we've got to play better on the road, no doubt about that. We've got to go out there with a fast start, we've got to get going, we've got to get first downs, we've got to get the ball moving, we've got to get the chains moving. We really didn't do that, I would say, on the road in the first two games. We've got to pick it up and we've got to definitely play better.
Q: Do you like to pass-block?
RG: Yeah. Why not?
Q: Did you know going into last week's game that you were going to be used in that role a little bit more?
RG: No, I mean, every game changes. You've got a game plan. You're going in with the game plan but I mean, the game plan changes on the fly. The games change on the fly. Your assignments change on the fly and everything. It's playing football and it is what it is. Whatever Coach [Bill Belichick] is calling, I'm cool with. I've never had a problem with it and if it's the whole game, it's the whole game. It is what it is and I don't mind doing it at all.
Q: How often do you practice pass-blocking in practice?
RG: Yeah, pass-blocking? Maybe once in training camp, I don't know. We rarely do it, I mean once in a while we do it. We've got a lot of other things to focus on but we get to it once in a while. When you get to it, you've been in the league for a while now, it kind of sinks in still and you've just got to stick to the tools.
Q: What stands out to you about Khalil Mack?
RG: He's a great player. How big he is and how fast he is, how disruptive he is. We've got to be wary of where he is every single snap.
Q: You have only one red zone target this year. How do you keep from getting frustrated with your lack of opportunities?
RG: It is what it is. First off, I've got to get open. I've got to get out there and run better routes and then I'll start seeing more targets. Whatever play is called, we're scoring points, we're scoring down there. Whatever I have to do to help out the team, even if the ball's not going my way, I've just got to do it and just keep grinding. If I keep playing ball, keep doing what I need to do, keep playing better, I might start receiving the targets. That's what it comes down to so just got to get better and get open.
Q: You guys have a lot of players who probably want the ball. How do you not become frustrated with certain players getting more targets than others?
RG: I wouldn't say that we have many players on the team that would even get frustrated over a situation like that. We've got many good players on the offensive side of the ball and we're just trying to win games. I would say that there's many players on our team, even if they didn't get a pass in the game and we won, they'd be totally satisfied. It is what it is. We're just trying to work together as a unit and whoever gets the ball, we're trying to do the best in our job to help him score.
Q: How are you feeling physically?
RG: Feeling good. It's football.
Q: Any limitations from your ankle?
RG: No, I feel good.
Q: How important is it for this team to secure a road victory?
RG: It's huge. We're 0-2 on the road right now. Very, very slow starts but we have a chance to change that this week and we've just got to go out there, play fast, play physical and be ready to go because we've got to put up points and we've got to move the chains. We've got to get first downs.
Q: Were you surprised being double-teamed most of the game against Kansas City that they only covered you with one guy on the biggest play of the game?
RG: I'm just really focused on the Bears right now. I've just got to expect any coverage from them, been doubled all year, many times but I've been singled too, saw zone. So, just got to be prepared for anything versus the Bears.
Q: Do your eyes light up when you get single coverage?
RG: They light up anytime we get a pass play in there. Just got to get open, try to get open every single time no matter who it's against.
Q: How much better has this team gotten since you last played a road game?
RG: We haven't played a road game in a couple weeks now but I feel like we have gotten better for sure coming off three wins in a row after those two losses. We've just got to keep that momentum going and we've got to bring it on the road and we've got to be prepared. We've got to be ready and we've got to show that we're a better football team on the road.
Q: Have you ever done punt coverage in your career?
RG: In practice. I don't think I was ever on punt team.
Q: Like as a gunner?
RG: No. Yeah, only practice.
Q: Because when you're on the line of scrimmage, the defense is lined up against you almost like you're a gunner. What kind of difficulty does that pose to you?
RG: I've just got to do my job. Obviously it's more difficult to get open versus two guys. It's a team game. We've got so many other great players, you've got to focus on them too. We've got [James] White, [Josh] Gordon, Julian [Edelman], [Chris] Hogan, Sony [Michel]. We've just got so many good players out there that you've got to watch out for them too. I don't mind that, whatever I've got to do to whenever it comes to that case. To tell the truth, if I'm going to be seeing that, I've got to find a way to start getting open even on that stuff. So we'll see.
Q: Is the feeling of winning contagious?
RG: You've just got to keep it rolling. You can't be satisfied. You've always got to stay hungry, keep coming out to practice week in, week out like we've been doing every single year I've been here. Just put the game in the past win or loss and focus on what we've got to do this weekend versus the team that's coming up. Just got to stay positive and keep rolling.
Q: When you face a physical presence what are some of the keys to beating that press coverage off the line?
RG: I would say a good release. You've got to get a good release off of press coverage. I've seen wide receivers, watched them before, and every time they get a good release, they get open pretty much a lot of the time. So I would say sometimes I really haven't been doing that. Sometimes I have so just got to keep working on it and keep getting better.
Q: Is that something you can study through film work?
RG: Oh yes, that's part of studying film for every player I would say. Studying the players on the other side of the ball, seeing what they do, seeing how they cover, seeing how they press, seeing how they use their hands off the line, if they're on the line, pointed, if they're off the line and all that type of stuff. That's definitely part of the studying of a player.
Q: On press coverage, is there a lot of in-fighting involved?
RG: Oh, that's related too. I mean, they get their hands on you, you can put your hands on them at the beginning of the route and being physical is definitely part of it. It's part of the game, getting open. There's finesse times where you can get open. There's times where you can be physical to get open.
Q: Does Joe Kim ever get involved with that for you or is that separate?
RG: He's all over so you've just got to be ready for everything. There's sometimes where I watch film and just see a whole different way that they play the game from the week before to the week prior. So I've just got to be ready for anything.
Q: Is catching a touchdown pass the best feeling you get on a football field and do you get a similar feeling when you run-block and see Sony Michel score a touchdown?
RG: I would say a balance. To tell you the truth, I don't like running every single play, I don't like running a route every play and I don't like blocking every play. I like the balance and I love a balanced offense. I believe it helps both parts of the game out and it's a crucial part of the game both sides, passing and running. I like doing both and I like balancing out, give or take some more runs, some more pass plays, but I definitely like the balance and I like doing both at a balanced rate.
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