Patriots

Patriots Notebook: Wednesday injury updates; Gronk leaves presser early; Rodgers on Brady – ‘I’ve always been a big fan’

(BSJ Photo)

FOXBOROUGH -- The Patriots weren't in pads for the start of Wednesday's workout, which made attendance tougher than usual. But a quick look revealed a handful of banged up players on the field, including running back Sony Michel, tight end Rob Gronkowski and offensive tackle Marcus Cannon. Wide receiver Julian Edelman and guard Shaq Mason were not spotted. We'll need the practice report to confirm -- look for that to drop later this afternoon.

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Here's a look at the Wednesday injury report. The guess? Schwenke is suffering from a "foot" issue, not a "food" issue. And it seems like there's a bit of a bug in the locker room -- Edelman and Wise both down with an illness.

DID NOT PARTICIPATE
WR Julian Edelman - Ankle / Illness
TE Jacob Hollister - Hamstring
G Shaq Mason - Calf
OL Brian Schwenke - Foot
DE Deatrich Wise Jr. - Illness

LIMITED PARTICIPATION
P Ryan Allen - Ankle
OT Trent Brown - Ankle
OT Marcus Cannon - Concussion
LS Joe Cardona - Shoulder
WR Josh Gordon - Hamstring
DE Geneo Grissom - Ankle
TE Rob Gronkowski - Ankle / Back
LB Dont'a Hightower - Knee
RB Sony Michel - Knee
DE John Simon - Shoulder

FULL PARTICIPATION
No Players Listed

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After making a joke about his lack of touchdowns this season, Rob Gronkowski appeared to leave his weekly press conference earlier than expected Wednesday after a steady stream of questions about his production

The tight end was asked what he can do better on the red zone, and he responded by saying “I've got to get open and make plays and we've got to put up points when we get down there.” After that, he was asked whether or not he misses the end zone.

"I think it misses me,” he said, drawing a chuckle.

The Q&A continued.

"How are you feeling right now, Rob?"

"Living."

"You seem a little subdued thank you."

"Thank you."

"Where would you say your confidence level is at right now?"

"It's good."

"Why?"

"Because we're winning. Alright guys, thank you."

And with that, Gronkowski left the podium.

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Here are a few of the highlights with our Wednesday afternoon Q&A with Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers:

This week Tom Brady said he was inspired by you. How do you feel about Tom Brady?
“The feeling’s mutual. As a young player, I watched a ton of his film. I had a great guy to watch every single day in Brett Favre, but Tommy’s been at the top of his game for a long, long time. So, I watched most of the snaps from the ‘07 season and I’ve always been a big fan of his. Just the stuff he does on the field is phenomenal and then to see him, as he’s gotten older in his career, continue to reinvent himself year after year and play at a high level every single season, obviously winning the championships, he’s a phenomenal player. But he’s a pioneer as far as taking care of his body and rewriting the longevity books for players of his caliber. It’s been really impressive to watch, and any time I get a chance when he’s on Thursday night, Sunday night, Monday night, I’m for sure tuning in.”

What stands out to you the most about this New England defense?

“It’s typical. Bill (Belichick) is a phenomenal coach and he’s always going to have his guys ready to play. They do a number of different things – they don’t just always major in one specific thing. They’re going to try to combat what you do best and take it away and get you off-schedule and lock down the guys they want to take away and make you beat them with your third and fourth options. It’s what they do and obviously play really well in the back end. They’ve got smart, instinctive players all over the field and that’s what they rely on. They rely on being able to adjust quickly to what you’re doing and stay within the scheme and make plays inside the scheme, and that’s what Bill’s done his entire career. I have a ton of respect for him and obviously what they’ve done over the years. Every year they have different guys they’re plugging in and they make it work.”

Bill Belichick mentioned you played golf together at Pebble Beach once and he was complimenting your golf game. What do you remember about playing golf with him?

“Well, I appreciate the compliments on the golf game. I’m usually not very good in Pebble. Any time I get a chance to be around Coach it’s an honor, and I have a ton of respect for what he’s done in the game. Not a lot of football talk, especially that time of year. They’re usually coming off a deep run in the playoffs, and occasionally we are as well. It’s fun to compete against him out on the field. We’ve done it once. One thing I do remember about that is him waiting after the game to give me some nice words and that’s something that really stuck with me in 2014. Like I said, I have a ton of respect for Coach.”

What do you think would have happened if you and Tom Brady switched places?

“Obviously, that’ll be some of the conversation this week. I don’t really try to get into the “what if” game. I’m fortunate to have been drafted here and sit behind Brett [Favre] for three years. He was obviously drafted late there and he was 100 and what, 75 picks after me in the draft, so his chip might have been a little bit bigger than mine starting out his career. He’s had a phenomenal career there and I’ve had a phenomenal start here and a great time being a Green Bay Packer. I don’t think about anything different. The reason I resigned again was because I wanted to finish my career out here. And, you look at a guy like Tom, all the years he’s been there, it’s fun to be able to be in one spot through your entire career. There’s a lot of pride in that legacy part of your career, and I think him and I both feel the same way about our organizations.”

What kind of stability does having the same coach for a long time offer a quarterback? That’s something both you and Tom Brady have had.

“Yes, the biggest thing is just the offense not really changing. Staying in the same system for me for 14 years has been really helpful. The terminology stays very similar. Obviously, we’re changing subtle things every single year, but to have the same terminology for so many years allows you a great comfort within the scheme and the ability to continue to find ways to add your own creativity to the mix. It’s allowed me to continue to grow my game year after year, and I’m sure Tom would say the same thing about being in the same system for a number of years.”

Has the way Tom Brady is playing at 41 reestablished expectations for how long quarterbacks can play?

“I think to some extent, definitely. But Tom’s kind of – he’s an outlier, he’s a unicorn. There’s not many like him. Obviously, what he’s done in making it more public now with his diet and his workout regiment, that kind of sets a blueprint for how it’s done for him. We all have our own ways of taking care of ourselves, but I think it’s a great reminder about how important diet is to your overall performance. That’s one thing that the player in 2018 I think understands a lot more than in 2005 when I got in the league and obviously when he got in years before that. There’s a way to take care of yourself that allows you to be in position to play for as long as you want. Obviously, at quarterback, we’re in a different situation than at running back or lineman where we have the natural opportunity to have longevity based on performance. Tommy’s been able to do what he’s done not just because he takes great care of himself but because he plays at a high level year after year.”