BOSTON (CBS) – New England Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski has only been in the NFL for a year and a half, but he already knows to expect the unexpected when facing a Rex Ryan defense.
“He has a lot of game-planning on the defense. He knows how to control the defense well and can always scheme up anything. Like every time we play him, we have to be ready for anything,” Gronkowski told 98.5 The Sports Hub’s Toucher and Rich Thursday morning. “This is my fifth time playing him in two years, you definitely have to study; check out what he did the last few games and be prepared for whatever he has.”
The Patriots are hoping to use their hurry-up, no huddle offense to their advantage Sunday night in New Jersey, catching the Jets off guard during their numerous personnel changes.
Read: Pats-Jets Preview
“He is always trying to move personnel around, that’s why you have to stay quick as an offense,” said Gronkowski. “Hopefully catch them on their toes, whenever their substituting hopefully we can get a time when they’re not lined up. That’s when you snap the ball and get some extra yards. You have to take advantage of opportunities when you can get them.”
Gronkowski has 44 receptions for 596 yards and six touchdowns this season, but has yet to find the end zone against the Jets. He hauled in four passes for 31 yards in New England’s 31-20 Week 5 victory at Gillette, but had just two receptions in last season’s regular season matchups.
Tom Brady had another off-week against the Giants, throwing a pair of interceptions and misfiring on numerous attempts. There has been talk that Brady could be battling an injury, possibly tendonitis in his elbow, but Gronkowski has heard none of that.
“I have no clue. He doesn’t make excuses, I know that,” Gronkowski said of Brady. “I never asked him that question; if his elbow was hurting him.”
“Ive been banged up a lot every week. Everyone has. You just have to take care of your body,” he said.
One thing that is never in question is Gronkowski’s chemistry with Brady. The tight end has already become one of Brady’s favorite targets, the result of all his hard work during and after practice.
“From all levels, from high school to college now the NFL, I learned you have to stay after practice; get your timing down, get your connections down with the quarterback,” said Gronk. “Especially this level where everyone is good on every team, you have to get the timing down to an exact science.”
Away from football, Gronkowski talked of a few tussles he would have with his older brothers, notably his older brother Chris.
“We were at a beach house in Connecticut. He kept pushing me in the water,” Gronk recalled. “He was a lot bigger than me, so I came out of nowhere and hit him over the head with a fishing net.”
The result: punishment from his parents and an angrier Chris.
Much smaller than his older brothers, Rob would resort to a secret weapon of his every now and then.
“The two year difference growing up was a huge deal; they were way bigger and way stronger than me at the time. They would always go at me, I don’t know if I deserved it or not, I don’t remember,” he said. “But we had a trumpet at our house and one time I whipped that out and I started swinging at them. When I missed, they would take me down even harder.”
Listen to Rob Gronkowski with Toucher & Rich in it’s entirety, including his thoughts on his brother Dan being cut for a second time.
Tune in to the Patriots-Jets game Sunday night on 98.5 The Sports Hub. Pregame coverage begins with Patriots Gameday on WBZ-TV at 11:30am, with the Hub’s pregame beginning at 5:00pm. Tune in after the game for the Patriots Postgame Show, and Patriots Fifth Quarter on WBZ-TV.