Gronkowski anxious to return, waiting for clearance


Gronkowski anxious to return, waiting for clearance

FOXBORO -- Wednesday evening Rob Gronkowski spoke with reporters for the first time since returning to practice December 14. The tight end fractured his left forearm in New England's Week 11 win over the Colts; he had surgery the following Monday. 
"I never had that kind of injury before so I wasn't sure what to expect," Gronkowski admitted. "I just listened to the trainers every day, what they had me doing to get back on the field, to get me healthy, to get my feeling better every day. 
"So far, I'd say it's gone pretty well. Just from here on out, gotta keep doing what I'm doing: Listen to the trainers, take it day-by-day, go out there, practice, and get in the groove with my teammates." 
Gronkowski said he's been able to keep up with conditioning, running, because of the nature of the injury. Still, he's anxious to see some action. 
Last weekend's game in Jacksonville was the fifth consecutive he's missed. As to whether or not he'll be activated for New England's regular season finale, Gronkowski declared the decision out of his hands. 
"When the doctors clear me, when the training staff clears me and I'm medically ready to play and they let me play, I'm sure that's when I'll get out there."

New year, different circumstances, same approach for McDaniels


New year, different circumstances, same approach for McDaniels

FOXBORO -- A year ago, the Patriots had a unique challenge: Fulfill Tom Brady’s desire to take every snap but also get Jimmy Garoppolo ready to run the team in Brady’s four-game absence.

This year, there’s no suspension looming. But Josh McDaniels still is tasked with getting Brady, Garoppolo and, yes, Jacoby Brissett ready for prime time.

“It’s the same every year for us,” said McDaniels a day before the first training camp practice. “We really didn’t change what we were doing in training camp last year.”

To quibble with the Pats successful offensive coordinator, there did appear to be a change, particularly with Brady’s usage during the preseason games. Perhaps the confluence of events in Brady’s personal life (mother’s illness) and that scissor mishap were driving forces, but bottom line is the program had to be altered. Still, the overall theme didn’t, and won’t again according to McDaniels.

“Everybody is going to get plenty of reps,” he said. “Fundamentals, techniques, all of the things that are basic to our success as we go through the course of the season, this is our opportunity to anchor those in our players so they’ll all three get plenty of reps . . . we’ll just let it play out.”

During OTAs and mini camp, Garoppolo spoke of competing to be the starter. Wishful thinking perhaps from the fourth-year pro, what with the GOAT firmly entrenched ahead of him on the depth chart, but it’s precisely that kind of attitude that is beneficial not only to the player but the entire roster.

“If you’re here, you’re responsible to try to push the people ahead of you so you can get out on the field and help us win,” said McDaneils. “I don’t think there’s a lot of deferring in any room, and that’s the great thing. That means we have a lot of competition and that’s the thing that makes everybody better. “

That competition started in the spring and will continue going forward to McDaniel’s satisfaction, or else. 

“They’ll be things I get mad at and will yell about,” he smiled.

Looking forward to it.

Quick Slants the Podcast: Behind the scenes stories on Belichick and the Patriots with Jerod Mayo


Quick Slants the Podcast: Behind the scenes stories on Belichick and the Patriots with Jerod Mayo

Former Patriots defensive captain Jerod Mayo joins Tom E. Curran and Phill Perry to give a peak behind the curtain of the Patriots operation run by Bill Belichick.

Mayo talks about becoming a captain, how New England differs from other NFL franchises, what impact Belichick had on not only his career , but life, and how good the defense can be this season.