New England Patriots are aiming to get back to where they belong, the Super Bowl. During the Tom Brady and Bill Belichick era, the Patriots have made five Super Bowls, winning three.
But their last win came way back at the end of the 2004 NFL season. Tom Brady led his Pats to 24-21 victory over Philadelphia Eagles to win their third Lombardi Trophy in four seasons.
However, plenty of time has passed and the Pats want another Super Bowl title after going so close numerous times in the last nine seasons.
One of the players that holds the key to the Patriots title challenge during the 2014 NFL season is Rob Gronkowski, and there's one new face who is getting the Pats main man up to speed.
That man is former New York Jets and now number one Patriots cornerback Darrelle Revis.
"It's good just to have a defender out there, instead of just running all of my routes on air right now," Gronkowski told Fox Sports.
Coming back after several forearm surgeries in recent years, and torn ACL and MCL injuries last year, Rob Gronkowski is still on the mend ahead of the 2014 NFL season.
The Patriots want to get him into shape as quickly as possible, but they are also wise about not risking their most explosive offensive weapon. The Pats need Gronkowski fully fit if they are to challenge for the title this season, and with that in mind, they're giving Gronkowski special attention during pre-season.
Darrelle Revis's role in all this is to spend a significant period of practice playing 1-on-1 ball with Gronkowski, with Tom Brady throwing the ball of course.
It's pretty simple stuff, but the deeper meaning to it all is more significant. Revis is actually taking time out of his practice to help his new teammate ahead of the new season. The cornerback is not allowed to go full throttle on Gronkowski and is merely there to aid him through his recovery.
"To break off a guy, right in front of you, just like it's a game, you've got to break off a guy, break off a defender. Having Darrelle out there giving me a little contact, a little bit, pushing me on my routes, just making me a better player out there, as of right now."
"It's basically more of a drill for me, but he's definitely learning, too, I would say.
"He's just breaking a little bit, not going full, full out. He's just helping me out and getting me back adjusted to having a defender out there in front of me."
We will see in the long-term whether or not the Pats ultimately prosper from these 'special practices.'
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