FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- Bill Belichick often says that the New England Patriots can't control officials' calls, so the focus is on controlling their knowledge of the rules and doing whatever they can to play within them.
Specific to Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski and the way offensive pass interference is being called, we've reached a boiling point.
Gronkowski expressed his frustration on Twitter on Tuesday, as he has now been flagged for a league-high six offensive pass interference penalties (including declined and offsetting infractions).
With the chance to engage offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels on the topic Tuesday, the following question was asked: What is Gronkowski doing wrong specific to those those two calls and how do you approach that situation going forward?
"The best thing we can do is try to coach Rob based on the way we've been told we can play," McDaniels said. "Rob, very rarely if ever, extends his arms. We try to make sure we don't do that. We try to make sure we're not the one that is pushing or shoving, or trying to move the defender in any way that's illegal. I think a lot of times the contact is initiated and the question is who is initiating it.
"We're fortunate to have a guy that is a big athlete and is bigger than the guys that are covering him. Sometimes we feel like contact is made, and because the other guy takes the brunt of it, sometimes we end up getting called for it.
"I think Rob is trying to play within the rules 100 percent of the time. We're never trying to do something that would create penalties, and we certainly are going to try to do everything we can to eliminate those kind of penalties going forward, because they certainly come at big times in the game. They affected a couple drives the other night. We'll do everything we can to try to clean that up and help Rob and anybody else for that matter, because we've been called for a few other ones along the way too."
ANALYSIS: The part of McDaniels' answer that stands out is the extension of Gronkowski's arms. It is likely that is the area that Patriots coaches have been told by NFL Vice President of Officiating Dean Blandino is the key, and that probably explains why quarterback Tom Brady was pleading with officials in the fourth quarter by showing them a non-extended arm as a visual. Gronkowski's arm never fully extended on the play in which he was penalized for offensive pass interference. So from the Patriots' perspective, it seems fair to draw a link that what they are being told about OPI calls (don't extend arms) isn't always the way it's being called on the field. Hence the frustration from Gronkowski.