May 5, 2021

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It’s Going To Be A Big Game!

5 min read

Photo by: Kyle Zedaker | Tampa Bay Buccaneers

He’s fun to be around, and he’s done a good job.

Bruce Arians started out Monday’s press conference talking about the competition that will ensue between kickers Matt Gay and Ryan Succop, and he expects there to be a competition between a solid veteran and the sophomore.

“It’s always a competition when there two guys fighting for a job. Ryan’s got a really good résumé – he was injured, he’s healthy. I think he had the consecutive kick record there for a while. It will be a competition for the next few days.”

Then came the questions pertaining to how much he would use Rob Gronkowski and what he felt about the veteran tight end’s adjustment to re-joining the NFL after not playing last season.

“He’s had up and downs. The weather got him for a while, but he’s in good shape. It’s one of those things – play it by ear. If somebody’s got a hot hand, you keep playing him. Same thing as a blocker – some guys handle some people, so it’s just going to be a matter of matching up. If it’s a situation where we’re running the ball, and he’s our best guy, he’ll play more. Same thing if he’s the guy in the passing game. We haven’t really put the final gameplan together, so it’s hard to say. Yeah. That 16-play drive, he wasn’t ready for that one – neither were a lot of guys. He said, ‘I was only supposed to get 15 plays, I got 16 in a row.’ I said, ‘Well, you’re going to get about 10 more, so suck it up.’ He’s fun to be around, and he’s done a good job.”

Game on, baby!

Sure, Rob Gronkowski has struggled with getting acclimated to the heat and humidity of the Sunshine State, but that doesn’t mean Gronk isn’t excited for Week 1 and believing that he will be ready physically and mentally for the challenge.

“It’s going to be a big game. We still have a long way to go – we’re about to break camp here, we’ve been going at it versus each other. It’s about to be time to start preparing for the Saints – that’s how you can get ready, so all the jitters aren’t totally there. If I prepare myself to the max that I can, I can go out there and be confident that I’m going into the game knowing what I need to do and knowing that I’m prepared to be the best that I can be. It’s going to probably be different, obviously, because there’s going to be no fans, and it’s going to be my first game ever coming out of a year of not playing. But I’ve been playing for nine years. I played in the NFL for nine years – it’s just like practice. It just came back like that. I’m hoping that’s how it is for the game. I’m going to prepare to the best that I can, and hopefully, right when I get out there, it’s just like any other game. Game on, baby – from the first play on.”

That’s always good to get the little things out of the way…

Gronk gave the media a rundown on how preparing for Week 1 in Raymond James Stadium, through scrimmages will help him and the team prepare for the challenge that lies ahead of them on Sunday afternoon in New Orleans later this month.

“It helped tremendously because it’s a new team new organization, so you don’t really have the feel of how they do things on game day. Before the scrimmage started, we kind of went through things like how we would on game day – how to warm up, routes on air, 7-on-7, team, all that type of stuff. Everyone does it different, so it’s good just to have that feel so when game time comes, you’re not scrambling around, running around, seeing where you need to be, not warming up properly. That’s always good to get the little things out of the way, and that helped out big time in the scrimmage. On top of it, it was good to be in the stadium with a lot of noise, lots of substitutions, too, and to get all that down. In practice you’re all over the place on the field – defense over there, offense over there – it’s good to have that feel of the substitution in and out on the field. The only reps that are going on are out on the field right during that scrimmage. It’s just good to go out there and get that feel of what it’s going to be like before a game.”

That’s what it’s all about – that’s what you need to accomplish in practice.

Gronk talked a little bit about what he personally want to accomplish head of the Saints game, less than two weeks away, and for him, gaining the trust of his teammates seems to be on of the highest priorities on his list.

“What I want to accomplish until the game is gaining the trust of my teammates, gaining the respect of my teammates, so when I go out there on the field, the guy next to me trusts me and I can go out there on the field and trust the guy next to me, too. That’s what it’s all about in practice – gaining the trust of each other, so when you go out there, you can perform as a team, perform as a player and do what I need to do. Go out there and do my job at a fast pace without thinking, and just play the game of football without thinking about it. That’s what it’s all about – that’s what you need to accomplish in practice. In order to go out there and play the game fast and physical and not be thinking, fast movements, you have to learn how to do that in practice. You have to learn all the plays; you have to learn your teammates, you have to learn where you are situated, you have to learn where other players are situated, where the ball is going to be, where the defender is going to be – that’s all in practice. That’s what it’s all about. So, just gaining the trust of my teammates and showing that I can go out there and consistently do what I need to do so I can go out there and do what I need to do on game day. That’s what it’s all about right now in training camp and preparing.”

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