When Tom Brady left Gillette Stadium last night, he was enjoying a 59-24 win. The reality that he lost one of his most dangerous weapons didn’t kick in for about an hour afterward.
“I know he got injured, but I obviously didn’t know the extent,” Brady told WEEI’s Dennis & Callahan this morning (via the Boston Herald). “He’s such a great player. It sucks that he gets hurt, but it’s part of the game, so he’s got to do his best to get back as soon as possible. We’ve got to go out there and win some games without him.”
Gronkowski suffered a broken arm and will have surgery today, leaving the Patriots without one of Brady’s favorite targets. There’s no timetable for the injury, but it’s not expected to be season-ending.
“He does a lot for us,” Brady said. “I think there’s a reason why you have other guys on the roster, too — Visanthe [Shiancoe], Daniel Fells, [Aaron] Hernandez, [Michael Hoomanawanui], everyone has to step up with having Gronk out. . . . No one cares what’s going on with us. We’ve got to still go out there and win.
“We have some flexibility in what we do. We try to play to the strengths of our players.”
That’s easy when he still has plenty of weapons, as Julian Edelman had 222 all-purpose yards in last night’s win, and a return to health of Hernandez and Wes Welker would give Brady plenty of choices.
“I think Julian plays to some different strengths,” Brady said, when asked to compare Edelman to Welker. “I don’t think they’re a similar player. I think they’re different players with different skill sets. They’re both very good in their own right.
“Wes is one of the best players to ever play at that position, if not the best player to ever play at that position. I think he is. Julian plays a different role for us. That’s why you can have them out there really at the same time doing different things both very effectively.”
That doesn’t mean they won’t miss Gronkowski, but it softens the blow a bit.