Belichick sees challenge in Broncos offense**
While Broncos quarterback Brock Osweiler has now played almost a game and a half at the helm of the Denver offense this season, New England head coach Bill Belichick has a good idea of Osweiler's capabilities – and he's impressed by what he sees.
"I thought that he played really well against Chicago last week. The whole team did," Belichick said Wednesday during his media conference call.
Before the Broncos' last two games, Osweiler had only seen action during the preseason, a series in the first half against the Chargers in Week 15 last year and occasional action in the fourth quarter during his four years as a Bronco. That lack of film certainly made it harder for the Chicago Bears to game plan against him for Week 11, but with another game under his belt, Belichick is able to get a better idea of how Osweiler operates.
During the Broncos' Wednesday practice preparing for the Patriots, Christian Ponder joined in after being signed that morning and DeMarcus Ware stretched with the training staff.
"We can look at the Kansas City [tape], too and obviously the preseason," Belichick said. "We have what we have and we'll work with the information that we have, but I think there's enough film on him that we have a pretty decent idea of what we're working with. I'm sure that, as he plays more, [Broncos Head] Coach [Gary] Kubiak might expand things or put in new things to take advantage of things that Brock can do."
Against the Bears, Broncos tight ends Owen Daniels and Vernon Davis saw their most productive outing, combining for 137 receiving yards. Davis, a recent trade acquisition from San Francisco, led the team in receiving yards in just his third game with Denver.
"He's another good player," Belichick said of Davis. "He's a really good blocker. He's an explosive player. When you get the ball in his hands, he can do a lot of damage in a hurry. They have great talent. There are a lot of hard guys to defend and he just adds another one in there. That's not taking anything away from anybody else. They already have a very talented group, especially at the skill positions running back, receiver and tight end. Daniels has had a good year for them."
Gronkowski weighs in on Denver defense
Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski didn't shy away from praising the Broncos defense during his media session Wednesday morning.
That's not all that surprising, considering the Denver defense ranks among the league leaders in nearly every significant defensive category through the first 11 weeks of the season. But for someone who loves the game of football as much as Gronkowski does, the challenge just means more preparation.
"Denver has a very solid defense [from] their front line all the way to their secondary," Gronkowski said. "As a player myself, I just have to go out there and have to be prepared to do my job. Whatever is called at the time is what I'll do to the best of my ability. The offense as a whole, we just have to come together, work out the kinks that we've had, come out together and make sure that we're mentally and physically prepared versus this team. They're so good that we have to be on top of our game or else it won't go well."
Gronkowski leads the Patriots in receiving yards this season with 843, making up over a quarter of New England's league-leading net passing yards.
But against the Buffalo Bills in Week 11, Gronkoswki struggled under double coverage, only bringing in 37 yards on two catches. He now expects that the Broncos will bring that kind of physicality on Sunday.
"I just look at it as a challenge," Gronksowski said. "[We] definitely know that the Denver Broncos are physical—no doubt about that—from their D-line all the way to their secondary. They know how to play the game, like I already said. They know how to play the game of football, and that means they come out, they hit, they're physical, they can tackle, they can do it all."
**A Happy Gronksgiving!
With Thanksgiving just a day away, Gronkowski and Belichick weighed in on their favorite Thanksgiving memories and dishes.
For Gronkowski, his favorite memories include his whole family coming together for what we're calling 'Gronksgiving.'
"We always had it at my house growing up as kids," Gronkowski said. "The whole family would be there. It was always pretty wild. We always watched football though, too, but we always played games within our family. We'd have like the mini hockey sticks in the house. We were throwing the football around the house. It was always mayhem and pretty hectic and just always a lot of fun."
With a family made up of football players, it's not surprising that the Gronkowski says that he and his family got after it when they were done chowing down.
"Sometimes we played some games outside. It was always usually tackle," Gronkowski said. "I don't think we ever really played touch. I was always the youngest, but I still was making those tackles on my older brothers and their friends."
Gronkowski wasn't the only one getting into the holiday spirit during the media session. When asked what his favorite Thanksgiving dish was, Belichick had a pretty simple answer: "Pretty much whatever is on the table. I'll take all of it."