Chandler not trying to fully replace Gronk for Patriots

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FOXBOROUGH, MASS. — Scott Chandler knows he can't try to be Rob Gronkowski while the star tight end is out with a knee injury.

"There's not a lot of Robs walking around," the veteran said Thursday. "I'm just doing what I can here, I'm focused on that. I'm not trying to be Rob."

Gronkowski suffered a right knee sprain and bone bruise Sunday night in New England's loss at Denver. He will be out an undetermined amount of time. So Chandler, who has been the No. 2 tight end since signing with the Patriots, now figures to be thrust into a great role with Gronkowski out.

But that really doesn't affect the way he gets ready for Sunday's game against the Philadelphia Eagles.

"I'm kind of approaching it the same way (as usual)," he said. "Whatever I'm asked to do I'm going to do it to the best of my ability. That's kind of the approach I've had my whole career and that's not going to change this weekend."

The 30-year-old Chandler averaged 45.3 catches and caught 20 touchdowns over the last four years with the Buffalo Bills. He knew signing with New England would lower his numbers and it has - he has 19 catches for 198 yards and three touchdowns but also some drops among his 15 missed targets.

"My whole goal coming here was to be a part a part of a winning team," he said. "So far we've been pretty successful. ... Being where I'm at in my career and having been where I was, 10-1 is the only thing that really matters to me. I'm pretty excited about that."

And clearly glad to be playing important games in November and December.

"I'm excited to have it be meaningful this time of year," he said. "I just want to do my part and whatever I can to help this team stack up some more wins and get into the playoffs and make a run there."

The Iowa grad was wearing an Iowa Football sweat shirt, his alma mater, trying to earn a spot in the College Football Playoff with a win this weekend in the Big Ten championship.

"Coach (Kirk) Ferentz has done an amazing job this year," Chandler said. "I'm proud to have played for him. He's such a great man and a great coach."

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NOTES: Michigan grad Tom Brady was wearing an Ohio State T-shirt in the locker room after losing a bet with Ohio State alum Nate Ebner over last week's Buckeyes win. ... Rookie running back Trey Williams, claimed on waivers Tuesday and with his third team even though he hasn't seen any action, said he slept with his playbook Wednesday trying to learn the team's complicated system. He also revealed he played his high school football for new teammate Danny Amendola's dad, Willy. Williams said of his new job: "For the most part, the Patriots have been doing their thing, and I hope I can contribute and help this team win a Super Bowl." ... Patriots coach Bill Belichick needs a win Sunday for his 13th 11-win season, which would tie him with Don Shula for the NFL record.


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