The joint practices between the Patriots and the Saints provide a look at two of the league’s top older quarterbacks, but the young tight ends are attracting plenty of attention too.
Jimmy Graham of the Saints and Rob Gronkowski of the Patriots were on center stage, and their ability to create matchup problems for defenses was clear.
“They’re both such a tough task,” Pats cornerback Kyle Arrington said of the pair, via Karen Guregian of the Boston Herald. “Graham is a pretty good basketball player. He hasn’t played football that long, but you watch him, and it looks like he has. He’s just so athletically freakish.”
The funny part was when the two were asked which they’d pick, as Graham didn’t hesitate to say he’d prefer himself.
“Of course I would,” Graham said. “I mean, I’m young. The thing about me, I’ve been playing for three years. I know I’m getting better. I’m focused on getting better. I know my weaknesses. I know where I need to improve.”
But when Gronkowski was asked about what Graham described as a “friendly competition,” he deferred.
“There really is no competition. He’s a great player and that’s why every team has the position of tight end,” Gronkowski said. “He’s a great guy, a great player you can put the film on and see what he is doing to get open cause he’s doing a great job at it and you can learn from him. You can learn from other tight ends in the league, they’re doing such a great job and you want to take their concepts too and add it to your game.”
Sigh. Clearly, Bill Belichick has gotten to him. And sadly, the Summer of Gronk can now be declared officially over.