To say that Rob Gronkowski was a complete surprise last season would be a bit of an overstatement. After all, the New England Patriots’ tight end did catch 10 touchdown passes as a rookie in 2010. That said, he broke out to become a legitimate superstar in his second season, catching 17 touchdown passes and racking up more than 1,300 yards in the regular season.
Gronkowski was rewarded with a six-year contract worth $54 million in the offseason. But it sounds as if he’s doing his best not to let that change him. Gronkowski does this interview after getting in extra reps after practice and says he’s simply trying to improve everything while settling into the league as a third-year player.
Rob Gronkowski joined 98.5 The Sports Hub in Boston with Gresh and Zo to discuss taking extra reps after practice, his new contract, his work ethic coming out of the summer, if he’s working on anything in particular, how he gets through a day of camp and working with Josh McDaniels.
You put in some extra time before speaking with us. What were you working on?:
“The quarterbacks were working with some throwing motions and stuff and they needed a guy to throw to. And … you want to get your eye contact down with the ball, get your chemistry with the quarterbacks, you want to be able to see the ball coming at you so you can make a clean catch. I just felt like I needed a couple extra passes to me … a little extra work catching the ball.”
How different is this offseason for you and what’s the work ethic like after everything that went down this summer?:
“Just practicing and it’s great coming in, being a third-year player. You’re so much more ahead of the game than being a rookie or a second-year player. You just got to keep working hard. What you don’t know on the offense, you’ve got to understand every position. It makes you understand the defense more. You want to understand what coverage they’re playing, how they’re lined up, the linemen. Just overall knowing the game better, knowing the defense better, is going to help you out to get open.”
Is there something specific you worked on in the summer or are working on now?:
“You want to improve on a lot of areas of your game. It’s not one thing, specifically, they want you to work on. It’s overall, everything. That’s why every individual, we’ve got three individual periods, three or four a day. First we start off with run-blocking, then we start off with pass-catching and then pass-blocking. They’re all important to the game. I believe, starting off is run-blocking because it helps out in the play-action game and that’s what helps me get open. … Getting out of my routes, that’s one thing I want to work on, too, is breaking down and getting out on the cuts way quicker.”
What do you do and eat to get you through a day during camp?:
“It definitely is an energy bar and energy drinks. … I don’t like raw eggs at all … but I start off every morning with a protein shake with the banana, the peanut butter. That’s how every athlete starts it off.”
How does Josh McDaniels challenge you as the new coordinator compared to Bill O’Brien?:
“Nothing’s really changed. As a player, you don’t change, you don’t really want to change at all. And as a player, whoever my coach is, I always want to go out there and work as hard as possible and take all the coaching possible. Billy was a great coach and now we’ve got Coach McDaniels here and he’s a great coach, too, a great offensive coordinator. Now I can use what coach Billy O taught me and now I can use what Coach McDaniels taught me and put everything together.”