Rob Gronkowski says coach Bill Belichick makes it easy for the New England Patriots to ignore distractions such as the one created by last week’s ESPN report.
”Throughout my years here I’ve seen a lot of negative [url=http://www.authenticsbuffalobills.com/cheap-trent-murphy-jersey]Trent Murphy Color Rush Jersey[/url] , a lot of positive,” Gronkowski said Tuesday as the Patriots prepared for Saturday night’s divisional playoff game against the Tennessee Titans.
”The reputation that Coach tries to get us to have is just ignore the noise – ignore the noise from the outside and I feel like that’s what myself and a lot of other players have been doing.
”You just gotta ignore the noise and just focus on what we’ve been doing all year and that’s preparing hard, studying our opponent, getting ready, mentally and physically for the big game, so what’s going on on the outside, as a team, as an organization, just gotta keep grinding, keep going, keep doing our job.”
Gronkowski, healthy this season after missing last year’s Super Bowl-winning run, said such ”noise” will ”if anything it’s just going to bring us closer and it’s going to bond us together.”
The report concerned the relationship among team owner Robert Kraft, Belichick and Tom Brady, focusing on Brady’s role in the trading of backup quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo to the San Francisco 49ers for a second-round draft pick.
Earlier Tuesday, Brady reacted strongly to the claim he was involved in moving Garoppolo, who won five straight games for his new team down the stretch of the season.
”I think that’s just such a poor characterization of anything. In 18 years [url=http://www.authenticsatlantafalcons.com/cheap-isaiah-oliver-jersey]Isaiah Oliver Color Rush Jersey[/url] , I’ve never celebrated when someone has been traded, been cut,” Brady said on his weekly appearance on Boston radio station WEEI.
”I would say that’s disappointing to hear that someone would express that, or a writer would express that, because it’s so far from what my beliefs are about my teammates.”
He continued, saying, ”I would never, ever feel that way about when Jimmy got traded, when Jacoby (Brissett) got traded. I’ve kept in touch with all those guys. When Matt Cassel was gone. All these guys I’ve worked with, I felt like I had such a great relationship with all the quarterbacks I’ve worked with. I kept in touch with basically everybody. So to characterize that as a certain way is just completely, completely wrong.”
Gronkowski was asked if Brady is amped up even more than usual.
”I’ve gotten that question many times throughout my career and I’ve said this many times – it’s hard to see him go to another level of intensity because he’s always intense, he’s always preparing hard,” Gronkowski said.
”I’ve just seen him do the same old that he does every week, prepare hard, practice hard and get ready for the game.”
Defensive captain Devin McCourty was asked about the ESPN article.
”I don’t care about it and I think a lot of guys don’t really care about what goes on outside and who writes what and if we stink, if we’re great – it doesn’t matter.
”So, I just think guys are motivated by playing for each other [url=http://www.authenticsatlantafalcons.com/cheap-deadrin-senat-jersey]Deadrin Senat Color Rush Jersey[/url] , their families more than an ESPN article.
”I think it’s a great thing for our fans and people outside. I think they enjoy all of that, but I think for us, it’s just going out there and playing for each other.
”An ESPN article doesn’t help us when we go out there and it’s negative-9 degrees. Like you’re not going to be motivated to prove an article wrong. You’re just having fun playing with the guys.”
Wide receiver Brandin Cooks, in his first year with the team, was asked how they keep distractions out of their locker room.
”I think because the guys listen. Coach has been doing this for a while and he knows what the potential distractions can be,” Cooks said.
”I think he does a great job on letting us know what they are and as players we listen to him and being coachable and tune out the noise.”
NOTES: Tennessee coach Mike Mularkey, talking with New England reporters via a conference call, was asked what affect the ESPN story might have on the Patriots, said, ”You know what, I’ll be honest with you, I don’t know anything about it. I’m not a social media guy. I don’t know enough, I really don’t, to make any comment about something like that.” … Gronkowski, talking about making AP All-Pro for the fourth time, said, ”It’s definitely an honor [url=http://www.authenticsatlantafalcons.com/cheap-ito-smith-jersey]Ito Smith Color Rush Jersey[/url] , a humbling honor, but it means nothing now to tell you the truth, it means nothing. It’s the playoffs now, it’s one-and-done if you lose, so you just keep on preparing, looking forward. … ”I’m just looking forward to this game, man – super excited to be back out there with the team.”
CLEVELAND – Two-time Cy Young Award winner Corey Kluber, who is pitching like he wants to add a third Cy Young to his resume, will be on the mound Friday night as the Cleveland Indians begin a nine-game homestand with the opener of a three-game series against the Minnesota Twins.
Kluber (10-2, 1.99 ERA) has gone six starts, 41 innings and 168 consecutive batters since he last walked a hitter. His last walk came over a month ago, on May 8.
In six starts since then, Kluber is 5-0 with a 1.09 ERA, 46 strikeouts and no walks in 41 innings. Kluber this season almost has more wins than walks. He has 10 of each.
One of those 10 wins came against the Twins, on April 17, a 6-1 victory in which Kluber pitched 6 2/3 innings, allowing one run and five hits with six strikeouts and two walks.
How good has Kluber been this year? His ERA in his two losses and his two no-decisions is 2.30. He could very easily be 14-0.
His two losses were by the scores of 2-1 and 3-2. The score in one of his no-decisions was 3-2. In the other no-decision [url=http://www.officialducks.com/authentic-adidas-cam-fowler-jersey]Adidas Cam Fowler Jersey[/url] , the Indians were winning 2-0 in the seventh inning when Kluber was removed from the game.
In 20 career starts against Minnesota, Kluber has a record of 9-5 with a 3.21 ERA.
Cleveland returns home after going 4-3 on a trip to Detroit and Chicago, although the Indians have scored just eight runs in their last three games.
“We’ve been scuffling to score some runs the last few days,” Indians manager Terry Francona said.
The Twins come to Cleveland having just lost two of three games in Detroit.
Kluber’s mound opponent of Friday will be right-hander Kyle Gibson (1-4, 3.45). Gibson’s only win came in his first start of the season, on March 31. Since then, he is 0-4 but with a decent 3.75 ERA.
Gibson’s biggest problem has been a lack of run support from his teammates. In Gibson’s 13 starts, the Twins have scored an average of 3.6 runs per game.
Gibson’s last start against Cleveland came June 3 when he received no decision in a 7-5 Minnesota win. In that game, Gibson pitched 5 2/3 innings, giving up two runs and two hits with seven strikeouts and two walks. In 14 career starts against Cleveland, Gibson is 2-6 with a 5.60 ERA.
Minnesota’s lineup for Friday’s game will have a different look after the Twins on Thursday optioned struggling third baseman Miguel Sano to Class A Fort Myers. After hitting .264 with 28 home runs and 77 RBIs last year, Sano this year was batting .203 with seven home runs and 27 RBIs, and he had struck out in nearly half (66) of his at-bats (148).
“He needs to be the guy we think he can be. He’s not there right now,” Twins manager Paul Molitor told MLB.com. “We have to take a step backwards here and determine the steps moving forward.”
The Twins are also expected to activate first baseman Joe Mauer off the disabled list on Friday. Mauer has been sidelined since May 18 with a neck strain. The Twins will announce another roster addition to replace outfielder Jake Cave, who was optioned to Triple-A Rochester on Thursday.
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