fb-pixel Skip to main content

Rob Gronkowski looking ready to go for Bills game

Rob Gronkowski has gone 6-1 in seven career games against the Bills at Orchard Park.John Tlumacki/Globe Staff

FOXBOROUGH — Rob Gronkowski practiced for the second straight day Friday, increasing the likelihood the big tight end will play Monday night when the Patriots travel to his native Western New York to face the Bills.

Gronkowski missed last week’s win in Chicago because of a back flare-up. He’s also been dealing with a balky ankle.

He sat out Wednesday’s practice that was held in a steady drizzle but returned Thursday and appeared to be moving well during the media portion of the workout. Friday’s practice was a walkthrough with another on tap for Saturday.

The perennial All-Pro, who grew up in Williamsville, N.Y, has enjoyed his homecoming weekends, going 6-1 all time in Orchard Park. In those seven games, Gronkowski has collected 44 catches for 730 yards and 7 touchdowns.


Overall, Gronkowski, who was listed as limited, has 66 catches for 1,074 yards and 12 TDs while going 11-2 against the team he grew up rooting for but snubbed him in the draft — a fact Gronkowski has said in the past he uses as motivation.

The blitzing Bills

The Bills have been among the league’s best blitzing teams and Bill Belichick and several of his players have mentioned this week how versatile defensive coordinator Leslie Frazier’s attack can be.

Buffalo, which has 19 sacks on the season, will bring their extra bodies from every level and every direction. As Belichick said, “everybody gets a turn” to bring the heat.

“They do a good job spinning guys through there. Kind of everybody gets a shot to blitz,’’ said center David Andrews, when asked if extra film work is needed to decipher the Bills’ blitz barrage. “I think sometimes it can be hard to pick all of it up on film. I think this is the kind of game where you really have to rely on your rules. It might not just be the linebacker — you’re going to have some perimeter guys, things like that. So you’ve got to rely on your rules and the things we’ve been taught.’’


Missing practice

Running back Sony Michel (knee), cornerback Eric Rowe (groin), and guard Brian Schwenke (foot) missed their third straight practice, decreasing their chances at traveling to Buffalo.

In addition to Gronkowski, eight other players were listed as limited in practice: linebacker Dont’a Hightower (knee); defensive ends Deatrich Wise (ankle/knee), John Simon (shoulder), and Geneo Grissom (ankle); receiver Josh Gordon (hamstring); tight end Jacob Hollister; and offensive tackles Trent Brown (ankle) and Marcus Cannon (concussion).

For the Bills, starting quarterback Derek Anderson (back/calf) and tailbacks LeSean McCoy (concussion) and Chris Ivory (hamstring) were limited.

Melifonwu pays visit

The Patriots brought in recently released Raiders safety Obi Melifonwu for a visit on Friday, a league source confirmed. The former UConn standout, who visited the Cowboys on Thursday, was picked 56th overall by the Raiders after wowing at the NFL Combine. The extraordinarily athletic, 6-foot-4-inch, 225-pound safety topped the ticket in the vertical jump (44 inches) and broad jump (11 feet, 9 inches) in Indianapolis. The Grafton native had two stints on injured reserve during his rookie season and had hip surgery last December . . . According to ESPN, the team also brought in Tulsa safety Dexter McCoil and Notre Dame tight end Ben Koyack for visits . . . Belichick is 17-8 on “Monday Night Football” as New England’s coach and 18-11 overall . . . The Patriots own a 72-43-1 record against the Bills overall. It’s their most wins versus any opponent . . . Bills guard Vladimir Ducasse is a former UMass standout . . . Devin and Jason McCourty were named the Week 7 NFLPA Community MVPs for raising more than $200,000 at their Tackle Sickle Cell Casino Night . . . Some interesting nuggets from the Bills media guide on kicker Stephen Hauschka, who grew up in Needham and went to Middlebury College and North Carolina State. His favorite sports memory as a fan: “Watching the USA men’s soccer team beat Portugal in the 2014 World Cup in Brazil.” His bucket list item? “Hike to see the gorillas in Rwanda.” Hauschka is 10 of 11 on the season and hasn’t missed a field goal since Week 1.


Jim McBride can be reached at james.mcbride@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter @globejimmcbride.