Gronk fired up about joint practice

FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- The Patriots' offense might have sputtered in Tuesday's joint practice with the Saints, but tight end Rob Gronkowski declared the workout a success because of what the team could learn from it.

"It was great, the Saints coming here, new competition, new guys, new looks, and you get to pick up the speed more. It's just intensity," Gronkowski said after practice.

"You go against the same guys two weeks straight, your teammates, so it's always great to get a new look. It was very competitive out there today and I believe we got so much out of it. Myself, I felt like I got a lot out of it too. Overall, I think it's a great concept, practicing a little bit in the preseason against other players."

For the standing-room-only crowd in attendance, it was a treat to see Gronkowski, Aaron Hernandez and the Saints' Jimmy Graham all working on the same practice field.

They might be the three best tight ends in the NFL.

For Gronkowski, watching Graham was a learning experience in and of itself.

"Jimmy Graham is a great tight end. Just watching him, what he does, how he gets open; you can always use other people's aspects of their game and bring them to your game to help you out," said Gronkowski, who trained with Graham prior to the 2010 NFL combine.

What does Gronkowski take from Graham?

"Speed, separation and he's good at the long ball, how he goes up and gets it in the air," he said. "It's kind of cool to see him go up and grab the ball at the highest point. That's something you always want to do when the ball is coming at you."