Coach Mularkey's Thursday Practice Transcript



(on his experience at tight end and how Rob Gronkowski has revolutionized the position)

Well, I think there are a lot of similarities between he and I, to be honest with you (laughing). No, he's amazing in what he can do. The guys that have been around like that, Eric Green, I'm going back some years, but for a guy that size, to have that ability to run like he does and separate from whoever is covering him, it doesn't matter. He's a special player that only comes around every so often like that. He's one of them.

(on how Tom Brady always seems to find Rob Gronkowski whether he is open or not)*

Well, you know they're going to throw it to him, and that's the thing. When you line up across from them, they're going to try to get him the ball. Like I said yesterday, he's very patient. A lot of guys don't have that. They speed things up as soon as there is any kind of contact. They abort any kind of move that they're going to make, or they shorten the route, they do something. He doesn't do any of that. He's right where he's supposed to be, he climbs on contact. A lot of guys, when they get contacted, they break right there. He doesn't do that, he continues to go. He moves the defender when the defender thinks he's going one way, as soon as they think that, he's snapping it. So he's just a very patient route runner.

(on the Patriots' ability to bring in new players to compensate for injuries without missing a beat)

Yeah, that's been their history. That's the same with Pittsburgh. These organizations, they just find ways that they haven't done that. The running back is a good example. Everybody is talking about (LeGarrette) Blount being out and maybe that is a weakness now. It's not a weakness, we're going to take it just as a strength. If that's their idea of coming after us to attack us, then we're going to do that, but I don't think they're going to go, 'Oh, we're not going to run the ball because LeGarrette Blount's down.' They're going to do what they think they do best. However, whatever way that is, we'll find out Sunday.

(on if Andrew Turzilli's role will expand)

Well, it was good he got some experience. I thought he did some things really well in the game. Obviously, catching a couple balls helped. The one, the first catch he had, we had just put that concept in. We hadn't had that concept in all year, so it was good to see him make a play on a difficult coverage. That will only help him as we move forward, but his role will expand, obviously with our receiver position and where it is.

(on if there will be a heavy focus on keeping Marcus Mariota upright after he was sacked five times last week)

That's the number one priority every time we're talking about the passing game. Protections, the routes, it's all based on down, distance, who we're going after, who we have to keep in. We're always finding ways that we can do that. Obviously, there are going to be some breakdowns and we're covered, we have to hold the ball a little longer, but that's the number one priority every time we talk about the passing game, first, second and third down.

(on if he likes entering a game against a team favored highly over them)

I just think everybody has a lot of pride in what they're doing. These are great challenges. This is why we do this. As a coach, I know the guys will be ready to step on the field like that. Back in 2012, we were 2-12 playing the Patriots and we were on the one-yard line, 23-16, we had a chance to tie the score in the fourth quarter to have a chance to beat them. I think that's every week. But it's a challenge for all of us that I think we kind of like being in this position. We'll see what happens with it, but a very prideful group, so we'll see.

(on his relationship with Bill Belichick)

Really, there's not much to it. We've talked briefly maybe at an owner's meeting or after a game, but nothing more than that.


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