Scroll down Ben Volin's Sunday notes column in the Boston Globe for a quick line that has some feathers ruffled on Twitter.
After a couple of paragraphs detailing Rob Gronkowski's offseason activities, Volin wrote the following:
The Patriots don’t seem to mind that Gronkowski is keeping himself busy as long as he puts in his rehab. He was actually bursting, planting, and cutting during the early portions of Thursday’s practice open to the media, and doesn’t look like he’s having any limitations. Whether he’ll be ready to play in the first month of the season is another matter.
Thursday's OTA at Gillette Stadium provided only a brief glimpse of Gronkowski and other players rehabbing from various injuries. (Deontae Skinner, Nate Solder, Matthew Slater, DJ Williams and Justin Green were among them.) Including the stretching and warmup portion of practice, by my count they were on the field for no more than 20 minutes. After that, those players shuffled into the Dana Farber Field House.
In that time, was Gronkowski "bursting, planting and cutting" on the rain-soaked turf?
Not that I saw. What I saw were half-speed individual drills.
But my eyes weren't glued to Gronkowski the entire time he was out there. I was looking to see if Dominique Easley was in the rehab group since he had missed the first OTA session open to the media. (He wasn't.) I was looking to see how Brandon LaFell seemed to be grasping his responsibilities early on since he too missed the first open OTA to attend an event at his high school in Texas.
Maybe I missed something.
Given some of the reaction to Volin's word choice on Twitter, it's clear that not all bursts, plants or cuts are created equal. What one person deems an explosive movement may be something entirely different to someone else. It's all in the eye of the beholder.
What we do know is that Gronkowski is working his way back from knee surgery, and that he's not yet at the point where the team wants him running between the raindrops for 7-on-7 or 11-on-11 periods.
Once we see him take part in a full OTA session with the rest of his healthy teammates, that seems as though it would be a better barometer of his progress rather than trying to read into how quickly he's moving through his drills.