Tom Brady jaunted to the podium Sunday after whipping up on the Indianapolis Colts 59-24. The New England Patriots quarterback hadn't heard the bad news yet: He'd be without one of his top targets, tight end Rob Gronkowski, for the next four to six weeks.
"I knew he got injured, but I obviously didn't know the extent," Brady told WEEI-FM on Monday morning, via the Boston Herald. "He's such a great player. It sucks that he gets hurt, but it's part of the game, so he's got to do his best to get back as soon as possible. We've got to go out there and win some games without him."
We've already said that the Patriots can get along just fine without Gronk for the next few weeks. He is a big part of the Patriots' offense, but Brady said he expects one of their other weapons to step up and fill the void.
"He does a lot for us," Brady said. "I think there's a reason why you have other guys on the roster, too -- Visanthe (Shiancoe), Daniel Fells, (Aaron) Hernandez, Hooman (Michael Hoomanawanui), everyone has to step up with having Gronk out. ... No one cares what's going on with us. Weâve got to still go out there and win."
The Patriots have a quick turnaround, facing the New York Jets on Thanksgiving night. Getting Hernandez back, who hasn't played since Week 7 because of an ankle injury, might mitigate some of the loss of Gronkowski. While no tight end in the NFL brings Gronk's combination of size and speed in the passing game and brute strength in the running game, Brady said the Patriots will adjust their offense to the players on the field.
"We have some flexibility in what we do," he said. "We try to play to the strengths of our players."
Follow Kevin Patra on Twitter @kpatra.