FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski says that as an offensive player, he is worried about the Denver Broncos' defense -- not Peyton Manning -- as the two teams prepare for their Week 5 matchup at Gillette Stadium on Sunday.
"We're not facing Peyton Manning, we're facing the Denver Broncos defense and that's what we're worried about, is when we're going against the Denver Broncos defense," he said. "We've got to do what we've got to do, we've got to execute. We've got to play as a team, we've got to play as an offense in order to go out there and move the ball."
And while the third-year tight end isn't focused on the resumption of the rivalry between Manning and Brady, he says any game that pits the two against each other is always competitive.
"It's always great, it's always competitive," he said. "But I'm really just going against the Denver Broncos defense. That's what I'm basically only worried about."
Gronkowski had his best receiving game of the season in Week 4, surpassing the 100-yard mark for the first time in 2012. He knows that duplicating that success against the Broncos won't be easy, as he sees a strong secondary and pass rush.
"They've got a great secondary, and great pass rushers that can get to the quarterback," he said. "We've got to be strong overall at all positions, and we've got to go out there and run good routes. I've got to run good routes, and get open and Tom can hit the open guy."
The player who draws the most attention in the Denver secondary is cornerback Champ Bailey, who continues to perform at a high level at the age of 34, but Gronkowski says the secondary is filled with talent around him too.
"He's a great instinctive player, and he knows the game well," Gronkowski said of the 11-time Pro Bowler. "It's not just him who is a great player, they've got other great players you've got to be aware of. They've got great secondary players you've got to be aware of. There's definitely a lot of focus on Champ, but you've got to focus on everyone because they're all good."