"Oh yeah, he's back."
Since returning from reconstructive knee surgery, Rob Gronkowski has been earning more and more time on the playing field as the NFL season has progressed for the New England Patriots.
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Offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels thinks that easing the tight end back into his position will ultimately help him in returning to his former self as a dominate pass catcher before the end of the season.
“I definitely think that Rob has made some plays for us. I certainly think that will continue and hope that will continue,” McDaniels said. “We are trying to work him back into the game plan to an overall level where he can contribute the most."
“And I think each week we have done a little bit more, and hopefully we can continue to do that. I think that any time you are talking about a player who is coming off a situation like Gronk was, you have to be smart and you do what you can do. I’m happy with the things that he has done so far, and we will continue to add more as we go through the year.”
Against the Cincinnati Bengals in week five Rob racked up 100 yards on six receptions for the Patriots. He also caught seven passes for 94 yards in the win against Buffalo this last Sunday.
"Oh yeah, he's back," Brady said after Sunday's game, via ESPN.com. "Absolutely.
"He's a great option out there," Brady added. "So if they don't cover him, he usually gets it. If they put extra guys on him then it frees everybody else up. He's tough to stop. You put a safety on him, he's got size. You put a linebacker on him, he's got speed. He's been that way since he got into the NFL."
The Patriots are planning on using more of that because they need versatility in the passing game as they ramp up for a playoff run. McDaniels said the increase is coming.
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“Rob has done the things we have asked him to do. He has been fine in terms of his assignments and his conditioning,” McDaniels said. “But we just have to try to add to it as we go throughout the course of the year.”