TAMPA, Fla. — Yes, he does.
No, he will not.
Giants coach Joe Judge has a history with tight end Rob Gronkowski from their time together with the Patriots.
“Actually, I’ve got a lot of stories,” Judge said. “I’m not going to share a lot of them.”
No doubt, Judge has plenty of intriguing tales about Gronkowski, a true character and free spirit. Judge will keep the details of what he knows private. But he has no problem detailing why Gronkowski — who was listed as questionable with a back issue for the Buccaneers for Monday night’s game against the Giants — has fashioned a Hall of Fame career.
“I think the thing about Rob that kind of goes unnoticed is this guy is really an extremely hard worker and he really does prepare the right way,” Judge said. “The way that this guy takes care of his body, the way he prepares on the field. I know there was a lot made earlier this year, someone commented about watching tape. I know Rob is prepared for games, I’ve been in there with him. This guy does study, this guy does prepare, he does work. He’s a great teammate.
“Everyone’s got their side that they can let their hair down a little bit. I think the thing that people miss on Rob is when he walks in the door how much business it really is.”
It is official.
Tom Brady has played every team and beaten every team, but the one team he enjoys beating most of all is the Giants.
“The team I would love to beat the most is the Giants, there’s no doubt about that,” Brady said last month on his “Let’s Go! With Tom Brady, Larry Fitzgerald and Jim Gray” podcast on SiriusXM. “Because they’ve taken away some really, you know, I’ve always joked with Eli [Manning] but, yeah, and I think he likes that I bring it up all the time. So to bring it up again, I do not like losing to those guys, so when we beat them I love that.”
The Giants, of course, beat Brady’s Patriots in Super Bowl XLII and again in Super Bowl XLVI.
Brady said the team he enjoys beating least of all is his former team, the Patriots.
“Those are my guys, man,” Brady said. “Those are the other warriors that I went to battle with for so long. I’ve had a lot of battles over the years with different teams, there’s a lot of mutual respect in pro sports, but glad I’m through with the one last night.”
Pharoh Cooper was signed to the Giants practice squad Nov. 3 and four days later was primary kickoff and punt returner in the victory over the Raiders. Cooper did not do much with three kickoff returns — averaging 15 yards — but he did have a 14-yard punt return. With Jabrill Peppers on season-ending injured reserve, Sterling Shepard still injured and a reluctance to use rookie Kadarius Toney on returns, it looks as if Cooper, 26, will handle the dual roles until he proves he cannot.
“Pharoh Cooper is what we thought he was,” special teams coordinator Thomas McGaughey said. “He’s a pro. He comes in here with really good recommendations from guys that have coached him in the past that I know. He’s done exactly what we thought he was going to do. He works his tail off. He’s smart and he’s a former Pro Bowl returner with experience. We just have to do a better job of blocking for him and giving him space to let him work.”