FOXBORO – May this be the final Wednesday on which Tom Brady has to deliver a State of the Gronk address.
With the tight end perilously close to making his 2013 debut and riding in to help a Patriots offense that’s in need of assistance, Brady was asked about his feelings RE: Gronk.
“Whenever that happens, who knows?” Brady said of Gronkowski’s return. “I feel like I’ve kind of talked about it a lot the past five weeks. If he is there, he’s there. If he’s not, he’s not. We’re going to try to win anyway.”
Gronkowski was again out at practice on Wednesday, as he’s been for the first five weeks of the season. Indications are Gronkowski will be playing Sunday against the Saints. The fact Gronkowski was listed as having full participation in practice for the first time this season is the most significant development.
Still, Dr. James Andrews, according to Pro Football Talk’s Mike Florio, will be the person who ultimately clears Gronkowski to play.
The Patriots labored last Sunday against the Bengals, scoring six points and going 1-for-12 on third down.
“Our job is to go out there and score, so we’re not doing a great job of that,” Brady said when asked his level of frustration. “The execution has to be a lot better. That’s what we’re working on. We’re trying to improve in all areas. It’s frustrating when we don’t score, but we’re going to try and do better this weekend.”
Brady has been diplomatically vanilla when asked about Gronkowski’s return. Gronk’s been practicing. Gronk’s been progressing. Gronk is needed. Gronk isn’t playing. It has to be frustrating, even if Brady has seen Gronkowski play hurt in the past, to see the glacial pace of Gronkowski’s return.
Still, Brady has uncharacteristically alluded to the absence of weapons when discussing the Patriots issues in recent weeks. Wednesday, Brady sidestepped questions about trying to keep his anxiousness to have Gronkowski return out of his mind.
“During the week, whoever is out there is out there, and the plan is the plan,” Brady explained. “You could lose guys the first play of the game, and the whole plan that you worked on all week is out the door at that point. I think you have to focus on what your job is and then try to do it the best you can, regardless of who is out there, because someone can get hurt this week, but you have to keep moving on, like what happened with Vince [Wilfork] in Atlanta. We lost him early [and] we still had to go out there and play a game.”
Will Gronkowski be able to help?
“We’ll see. I mean it’s not up to me,” said Brady. “I haven’t made those decisions. I’m just kind of waiting like everyone else. Whenever it is, it is. We’re 4-1, we’ve won four games without him. If he is not there this week, we’ve got to try to go 5-1 anyways. Hopefully when he does get back out there we will be more productive.”