Pagano on defending Rob Gronkowski: 'Pray a lot'
SAN DIEGO (AP) Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski has made news before New England's game with the Chargers.
San Diego's task is limiting his impact on Sunday night.
''It's going to be a huge challenge for us,'' Chargers safety Eric Weddle said. ''But we are up to it.''
Keeping pace with Gronkowski is a chore this week. With the Patriots practicing in San Diego, he's been spotted at area nightclubs and hanging with singer Justin Bieber at a Los Angeles Clippers game.
It's doubtful Gronkowski, who leads the Patriots with nine touchdown catches and 910 yards receiving, will slow down on Sunday.
''Pray a lot,'' defensive coordinator John Pagano said. ''He is one of the best tight ends in the league.''
With the Chargers' eight-time Pro Bowler Antonio Gates, Sunday's game features two of the top players at their position.
''If you were a fan it would be fun to watch,'' Chargers offensive coordinator Frank Reich said.
Gronkowski's name is already associated with a Chargers tight end. Gronkowski's 1,327 yards receiving in 2011 eclipsed ex-Charger Kellen Winslow's single-season mark for a tight end.
''He runs great routes and he's a big, pure athlete,'' Pagano said of Gronkowski. ''And he knows what to do at the top of the routes. He knows how to finish them. You watch him on film and he runs through defensive backs trying to be as physical and big as him. He is one of the best tight ends in the league and he shows it every week.''
''He is one of the best to play,'' he said. ''You can't go up high on him. He is too hard to tackle because he's too physical, too big.''
NOTES: Chargers quarterback Philip Rivers was on Thursday's injury report with an ailing chest. But according to coach Mike McCoy, Rivers took his regular practice snaps. ''He was a sore like you can be after playing a physical game on Sunday,'' McCoy said. ''But he did everything.'' ... Right tackle D.J. Fluker didn't practice after displaying concussions symptoms following Wednesday's workout. ... The Chargers put guard Ryan Miller on the reserve/non-football injury list with a concussion. Miller was hurt Wednesday after falling at the team's facility.