Rob Gronkowski may be new to the Buccaneers, but he isn’t new to tough games, tough environments, and high expectations. For the recently un-retired tight end, this week simply marks the first game in a marathon season that the Bucs will be going out and trying to win.
Mind you, facing the division rival Saints in their house is no walk in the park.
However, piped in fan noise rather than the rambunctious group of Saints fans packed to the rafters will give the Superdome a different feel than usual. I’m not sure the piped in noise will be much better considering there are no ebbs-and-flows, it’s just constant noise that the players may be able to find a way to tune out after a bit.
But Gronk knows what’s ahead of them and how great Drew Brees and his squad of Super Bowl hopefulls are. When speaking with the media, Gronk talked about the challenge the Bucs face on Sunday;
“It’s definitely going to be a challenge going into New Orleans. They’re a great team, they have great players, they have another great quarterback, too, in Drew Brees. They have a good defense, a good offense, so it’s definitely going to be a challenge. It’s definitely another challenge for Tom, for myself and for this team. All we can ask for is to just go out there and give our best and not really look at anything else. Like, ‘Oh, I have to go out there and win for this or that.’ No. We just have to go out there, give it our best, give it our all and give it our best fight that we can possibly give when we get out there to New Orleans.”
As for the sky high expectations for the Buccaneers this season? Well, it’s all about keeping things in perspective. Bruce Arians touched on it when asked about the team’s approach to those lofty predictions;
“You always embrace it and then you forget about it. You’re not going to go to the Super Bowl this week – you can only take care of today’s work. I thought we did a great job of taking care of today so far and again, tomorrow just take care of tomorrow. It’s just a day-to-day process. Respect that process, come to work every single day and let the all the chips fall at the end.”
With Gronk, who has been there and done that numerous times, he was all about helping his teammates deal with the added attention and media expectations;
“That’s just all hype. That’s a lot of noise outside of the building and I would just say we’ve got to take it one day at a time, one week at a time, one game at a time. That’s what it’s all about. You’ve got to play a 16-game season. You’ve got to be good week in and week out, and the way to do that is just take one step at a time and one game at a time. Never look ahead of yourself. Never look ahead of a practice, always try to do your best every single day and just stay in the present and do what you can do that day. Like I said, take it one game at a time and that’s all you can really do.”
It’s going to be a tough week one for the Buccaneers - especially if they are without Mike Evans - but it’s a winnable week at the same time. What better way to start the Brady era than with a pivotal win within the division.