Getting their ‘best player back’
|05.28.09 at 5:05 pm ET|
FOXBOROUGH — Wes Welker had the best year of his career in 2007 with Tom Brady calling the signals. He caught 112 balls for 1175 yards. Both numbers were just a tad better than his 2008 Pro Bowl season, spent without Brady under center for 15 3/4 games.
“Anytime you can get back your best player on the team and have him out there, it’s a great deal and we’re definitely excited about it,” Welker said on Thursday during the Patriots organized team activity outside Gillette Stadium.
Last week Randy Moss — who declined to speak on Thursday as he came off the practice field — declared this offense could be even better than the record-setting 2007 bunch that saw Brady throw for a record 50 touchdowns and Moss catch a record 23 touchdowns.
But Welker agreed with Brady in saying there’s a lot of work to be done before jumping to that conclusion.
“We’re just trying to get better right now,” Welker said. “What happened in the past happened in the past and we just have to make sure we’re pushing forward and getting ready for the future.
So how excited was Welker to see Brady out there on the damp grass, throwing sharp passes through the air?
“It was just kind of business as usual,” said a typically understated Welker. “We’re just going out there trying to run our plays. I was just trying to do my job and get open for him.”
Welker was not the least bit surprised to see Brady out on the field, able to do everything required of him physically.
“Tom, I’m sure he is a determined person so you just have to know that and make sure you’re doing your job to the best of your ability and take care of your part of it.
“We’re always adding stuff and trying to put new stuff in. You’ve got to make sure everyone is on the same page and you’re going over your playbook as much as everybody else and make sure you’re ready to go,” Welker added.
Welker admitted he couldn’t help but notice the nearly 100 reporters in the stands for a not-so routine OTA in late May.
“It is what it is,” Welker said almost on cue. “It’s nothing we haven’t seen before. we’re just excited to be out here practice and everything else is, I don’t know, kind of what it is.”
Then there was the perspective of No. 39 talking about No. 12. Laurence Maroney was in attendance on Thursday, taking handoffs from Brady and catching passes in the flat.
“It’s always good to have No. 12 out there,” Maroney said. “He’s the leader of the team and he brings a lot of energy to the team. It’s always great when you see his number out there on the field.”