Wes Welker ‘could care less’ about the predictions of Antrel Rolle
|11.04.11 at 5:56 pm ET|
FOXBORO — Wes Welker is a prideful man. So, when it was suggested that getting the ball deep on defenses would open things up for receivers like him underneath, he reacted like it hurt him more than any Troy Polamalu head tackle or any Antrel Rolle proclamation.
“I’ve actually gotten the ball deep a few times deep this year so I don’t think you can take me out of the equation, either,” Welker said Friday when asked if getting speedsters Taylor Price and Chad Ochocinco deep and to the outside would help his routes.
“I think any time you get the ball deep to anybody is going to help out the passing game. We’ll just see how it all plays out and what we can do on Sunday.”
Welker did catch the first 99-yard TD play in Patriots history on opening night in Miami but that came on a seam route 15 yards downfield. The last deep connection for the Patriots came on the first play of the second half against the Jets at Gillette when Tom Brady hit Welker in stride for a 73-yard play.
Indeed, if Welker can get deep then his path will no doubt cross safety Antrel Rolle, who said this week – when asked about Welker – “I can handle anything.”
“I’m really not too worried about it, just trying to study him up on film and get ready for him and make sure I do everything possible to be successful on Sunday and really, that’s where my focus is,” Welker said Friday. “I’m not worried about too much else.
“I could care less either way if he did or didn’t. I’m just focusing on the game and really, I think at this point, you hear it all and you just don’t worry about it, move on and get ready for the game.”
To be completely fair, Rolle clearly has a ton of respect for Welker, whom he called a “monster elite receiver.” Rolle added, ‘You know, [Welker] is human at the end of the day,’ Rolle said. ‘He is a great receiver and you don’t take anything from him, but he is human at the end of the day.’
As for how he’s feeling after the Polamalu tried to pull off an “Exorcist” tackle on Welker on the day before Halloween.
“Feeling good, feeling good. Looking forward to this weekend,” said Welker, who was kept out of practice on Wednesday with a strained neck, before returning to limited participation on Thursday and Friday.
That had to hurt, no?
“I think anytime you’re playing a game in the National Football League, you’re going to have your bumps and bruises and some things take an extra day, some things take longer, some take less. You just have to monitor it and move on,” Welker said. “I’m practicing again and looking forward to the game this weekend.”
As for this weekend, is Welker expecting more bump-and-press coverage from the Giants, like they saw from the Cowboys and Steelers the last two games?
“There’s been a lot more man coverage and guys getting in your face and grabbing and doing whatever they need to do. At the same time, you have to understand that and do business the way it’s being done, and be physical and get open. That’s what it comes down to.
“You have to understand they’re pros, too. They get paid. They’re going to win some and you’re going to win some. You just have to keep fighting and keep on playing hard and understand that when you get your opportunity to make a big play, go make it.”
Welker and the receiving corps knows one thing, they need to get into their routes quickly this week, with the Giants possessing one of the most-feared defensive fronts in football.
“They’re one of the best pass-rushers around so definitely, getting open with quickness and making sure we try to tire those guys out as much as possible is going to help us.”
And what if the Giants get physical with Welker like the Cowboys and Steelers did?
“We’ll see how it all plays out,” he said. “Whatever they do, hopefully I’ve put the preparation in and be ready on Sunday.”