New England Patriots

Sep 16, 2018; Jacksonville, FL, USA; New England Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski (87) looks on prior to the game against the Jacksonville Jaguars at TIAA Bank Field. Mandatory Credit: Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports

By Matt Dolloff, 985TheSportsHub.com

For whatever reason, Rob Gronkowski just wasn’t having it at his Wednesday press conference.

The Patriots tight end spent about three minutes fielding questions from reporters at Gillette Stadium. Unfortunately for him, most of the questions were about his surprising lack of production at the halfway mark of 2018.

It’s not entirely unfair to ask what’s up with Gronk. He has just one touchdown on the season, and it came all the way in Week 1 against the Texans. He has just one catch inside the red zone, albeit his lone touchdown was basically in the red zone as it came from 21 yards out. But Gronkowski sure didn’t seem thrilled about the questions.

Not that he should be thrilled, but he shouldn’t be surprised by them either. His answers got shorter as the presser went along. He seemed OK for the first few questions, but here’s where it started to turn a bit:

Q: Could you do better in the red zone?

Gronk: We’ve got to score points. I still have to get open and make plays. We’ve got to put up points and get down there.

Q: What would you attribute your touchdown drought to?

Gronk: I’m not really sure. Yeah, everything. Everything you said. I don’t know what to say.

Q: Kind of a silly question but do you miss the end zone?

Gronk: I think it misses me.

Q: What does that mean?

Gronk: I don’t know.

Q: Jimmy Graham, what do you think of him?

Gronk: Good player.

Q: Do you guys have much of a background?

Gronk: No, not really.

Q: Is there a level of frustration with you?

Gronk: No. We’re 6-2. We just won five games in a row and just trying to get the W every week.

Q: How are you feeling right now?

Gronk: Good.

Q: You’re a little subdued today.

Gronk: Thank you.

Q: Where would you say your confidence level is at right now?

Gronk: It’s good.

Q: Why?

Gronk: Because we’re winning. Alright guys, thank you.

Rob Gronkowski looks on during the AFC Divisional Playoff against the Tennessee Titans at Gillette Stadium on Jan. 13, 2018 in Foxborough, Massachusetts. (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)

Rob Gronkowski looks on during the AFC Divisional Playoff against the Tennessee Titans at Gillette Stadium on Jan. 13, 2018 in Foxborough, Massachusetts. (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)

Clearly, not the most positive of questions for Gronk to answer. But it’s true, he was certainly more subdued compared to his usual jovial self. This isn’t the first time he’s been asked about his struggles in the red zone or anything related to his lack of production this season.

He won’t come out and say he’s frustrated about a lack of stats, to be sure. He’s well off his pace to reach the incentives that the Patriots built into his contract in the offseason, but you can’t expect him to talk about that either.

Gronk could also simply be frustrated about his injury situation, another topic that he can’t be expected to address publicly. He’s been battling an ankle injury for weeks, and this is pure speculation but it could be a high ankle sprain. That’s what he suffered back in 2011 before the Super Bowl, and he was a shell of himself in that game despite coming off what’s still his best season to date. That kind of injury can slow anyone down, especially a player like him.

Whatever was going on with Gronk, it would be hard to believe that there’s not some level of frustration going on. Even though the Patriots are winning games, he almost certainly would want to be a bigger part of that success. They might need him to step up against the Packers on Sunday night, and they’ll definitely need him to be the usual Gronk once January rolls around.

It wasn’t a bad thing that Gronk acted the way he did at the presser. It was just odd. It was different for him. For the team’s sake, the hope is that he starts to break through on the score sheet in the coming weeks, or the apparent frustration could continue to build.

Matt Dolloff is a writer and digital producer for 985TheSportsHub.com. Any opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect those of 98.5 The Sports Hub, Beasley Media Group, or any subsidiaries. Have a news tip, question, or comment for Matt? Follow him on Twitter @mattdolloff or email him at matthew.dolloff@bbgi.com.