Rob Gronkowski is known as one of the NFL's most physically dominant offensive weapons and for being a partier off the field but he also plays the tight end position at a high level intellectually.
“The tight end position is, probably after quarterback, the hardest position to play in our offense," said Bill Belichick. "That’s the guy who does all the formationing. The running back is usually in the backfield. The receivers are receivers. But the tight ends could be in their tight end location, they could be in the backfield, they could be flexed. They could be in the wide position. To formation the defense, those are the guys you’re going to move. It’s moving the tight ends that changes the defensive deployment.”
Belichick has long been impressed by how he understands the game.
“Rob is a versatile athlete, but he’s also a versatile guy mentally. He can handle a lot of different assignments. Some guys can’t. Either they mentally can’t do it, or it’s just too much and their game slows down. They don’t play to the same skill set you see athletically because they’re thinking too much. That’s not the case with Rob.”
“Many, many times you have to be a football mind,” said Gronkowski. “I’ve seen a lot of athletic juggernauts throughout high school, college, even the NFL who can’t play the game. When you first get [to the league], it’s learning a whole new language. You have to learn the playbook inside and out. You have to learn code words for each play. You have to learn defenses. You have to just have football knowledge. Without football knowledge, it doesn’t matter how much skill you have.”