Rob Gronkowski isn't always praised for his team-first mentality, because it isn't always seen when he's catching touchdown after touchdown.
Over the past two games, however, Gronk hasn't been his dominant self, and that's OK with him. He's only caught seven passes and hasn't topped 67 yards receiving, but the Patriots are winning and guys are getting open because of him.
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"Everyone always wants more touches," Gronkowski said Thursday, via Mike Reiss of ESPN. "But that's not the case; the case here is just going out and doing my job -- if it's blocking, going out and running a route to help someone else to get open, or if it's running a route to get open and get the ball and make a play when the ball is thrown to me."
Thanks to Gronkowski drawing double coverage on nearly every play, his teammates are finding bigger holes in the defense. For example, Danny Amendola caught seven passes for 105 yards last week against Indianapolis. The Colts, like every other team, put a big focus on stopping Gronkowski, and with multiple safeties or linebackers keyed on the big tight end, Amendola was able to break loose several times.
Gronkowski is showing why he's the ultimate team player by his display of unselfishness this season. Bill Belichick eluded to the unseen side of Gronkowski earlier in the season, and it's coming through of late.
"That's what makes the game of football such a great game, because it's such a team game," Gronkowski said. "It's not just about one individual player. It's about the offense as a whole. ... Everyone works together, and the one mission is to get the win. If we get that win, and everyone works together to do their job, then everything's all good."