ATLANTA — New England's Rob Gronkowski has been one of the better tight ends in the league over the past decade. And while his numbers may not be what they once were, he's undoubtedly still a significant part of the Patriots' offense.
In the AFC title game against Kansas City, 'Gronk' had six receptions for 79 yards — including a key 15-yard overtime catch to put New England in position to score a game-winning touchdown.
Now, Gronkowski will take on the Rams and a defense with a lot of players he respects.
Get to know the Los Angeles Rams by looking through the 53-man roster!
"Yes, they're a good defense — and especially their front line," Gronkowski told assembled reporters in his Wednesday media session. "We're going to have to play together. We're going to have to stop them, stop the penetration. They've got some great players up front, so we've got to be ready for them. We've got to stop the penetration, make some blocks, be able to run the ball and pass the ball. But it's going to be a battle — they're good."
Gronkowski also has two prominent former teammates on Los Angeles' roster in cornerback Aqib Talib and wide receiver Brandin Cooks. Talib was a Patriot for the back half of the 2012 season and all of 2013. Cooks played for New England last year.
"Loved playing with Aqib," Gronkowski said. "He was a great dude, great guy to have in the locker room, funny guy."
"[H]e was a good player, but he was also a great dude off the field," Gronkowski added on Cooks, citing the wide receiver presenting two tickets to Super Bowl LIII to a member of the Rams' custodial staff. "So he's just a great person and a great guy to be around on the field and off the field. So, definitely miss him."