FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- A year after setting an NFL record for receiving yards and touchdowns by a tight end in a single season, Rob Gronkowski has been held to just 156 yards through three games in 2012. In Week 3, he was targeted just three times and caught two passes for 21 yards, his lowest totals since Week 4 of 2011.
Patriots quarterback Tom Brady wasn't shy this week in stating that he needs to do a better job in finding Gronkowski, who remains a matchup nightmare with his combination of size, athleticism, and natural receiving skills.
But rather than focusing on the number of throws heading his way, the third-year tight end said that his approach on the field is performing within the construct of the offense's game plan.
"Always going with what the game plan gives me," he told reporters on Friday. "You never know what kind of situations you're going to be in during the game, how the game is going to work out. Whatever the assignment is, whatever I'm asked to do, if it's going out catching the ball, if it's staying in blocking, if it's run blocking, whatever it is, whatever I'm asked to do, I've just got to go out and perform to the best of my ability at that play."
This weekend Gronkowski will take the field in Buffalo, near where he grew up and where many friends and family still reside. He's put on quite the homecoming show in each of his first two trips to Buffalo, scoring a pair of touchdowns in each game.
While it's possible that Gronkowski will once again play a leading role in the Patriots' passing attack this weekend, he says that it's not always easy to sense exactly how his role will play out leading up to Sunday.
"You never really know. You kind of have a little sense when you know the team a little bit, but you just never know until the game goes," he continued. "You never know how the game is going to go, what kind of defenses they are going to be playing, all that. You've just got to be ready for anything at any time. The flow of the game starts when the game starts."