Patriots QB Tom Brady, TE Rob Gronkowski miss practice

New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady (knee) and tight end Rob Gronkowski (back) were not present for the team’s practice Wednesday, as both are still recovering from injuries.

This marks the second straight week that Brady was not present for the opening practice of the week. He missed practices both Wednesday and Thursday last week before returning with limited participation Friday. He played all 73 snaps Sunday in a 22-17 win over the New York Jets.

“It’s better than last Monday, so I’m very happy about that,” Brady said of his health during his weekly interview Monday on sports radio WEEI. “… Hopefully I’ll be feeling a lot better come Sunday.”

Said Brady later Monday to Westwood One Radio: “I expect it to heal. I’m a pretty fast healer. I hope I don’t have to deal with it much longer.”

Meanwhile, Gronkowski left the game late in the first quarter after injuring his back. He had returned to action after missing the team’s game the week before because of a chest injury.

As quarterback Tom Brady said Monday on sports radio WEEI, the Patriots had a good feeling that they would have Gronkowski, and built a significant part of their red-zone game-plan around him.

Gronkowski’s late first-quarter departure forced plans to be scrapped and somewhat re-drawn on the fly, leading to some uncharacteristic clock management late in the second quarter.

“With Gronk injured, you have all these plays you like and then all of a sudden he goes out and a lot of things change,” Brady said on the “Kirk and Callahan” program.

“You’re trying to figure out situationally what you’re going to do when you lose him. I think that’s always a little bit of a challenge when you lose someone like that early in the game, just trying to adjust, especially when it comes to situational football. You’re trying to still know the plays you have confidence in based on the coverages you’re getting. They game-planned us, we game-planned them, and then all of a sudden your whole game-plan changes when one player goes out.”

Hill punctuated the kick return by high-fiving with teammate De’Anthony Thomas as the two approached the end zone with no Broncos within reach.

“We’ve been working on that in practice,” Hill said.