After missing the first six games of the 2013 season while recovering from forearm surgery, and playing in just seven games before a December ACL injury sidelined him until last week, Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski is understandably anxious to return to the form that made him one of the league's best tight ends.
Against the Dolphins in the season opener, Gronk had four catches for 40 yards and a touchdown punctuated by the familiar Gronk Spike (which, as you can probably imagine, is what a touchdown celebration would look like if Hulk scored).
Not surprisingly, Gronk is looking for more Gronk Spikes in his future. First things first: staying healthy and staying on the field.
The Patriots kept Gronkowski on a snap count last week as he gets back into playing shape but that should change as the season progresses.
“I thought it was a perfect amount,” Gronkowski said, via ESPN.com. “Just coming back, getting my toes wet. So whatever the coaches plan for me -- keep on improving, keep on getting better -- I will be doing. ... Whatever the coaches have for me out there -- whatever the game plan is -- when I get my number called, I have to go out there and I have to do my job and perform to the best of my ability.”
After his prolonged absence, Gronkowski is also looking to get back on the same page with quarterback Tom Brady.
“Just have to keep on working,” he said. “Obviously it shows there is much room for improvement to only be catching four balls when you have 11 thrown your way. It starts on the practice field, so we’ve just been working on getting chemistry down.”
And Gronk will get that chance on Sunday when the Patriots face the Vikings.
“They are fast and they are big,” he said. “We just have to execute as a team together because they have a pretty good defense, for sure. They know how to play defense -- the guys are always in the right spot at the right time. They read the quarterback well. So we have to be prepared to the best of our ability and work together as a team to get some yards."