Wes Welker ready to get his ‘physical’ on with the Ravens
|01.21.12 at 1:13 pm ET|
FOXBORO — Wes Welker is regarded – by teammates and opponents alike – as one of the toughest receivers in the NFL.
That will likely be in full display on Sunday in the AFC championship against one of the most physical teams in football.
“They’re very physical,” Welker said “They are a physical football team and you have to understand that they are going to come out hitting and you have to come back and hit just as much. You have to understand that it’s going to be a physical football game and it always is with this team. You have to make sure you’re not backing down from any of that.”
The numbers show that the Ravens have had a good deal of success in containing Welker in the last two meetings. On Oct. 4, 2009, Welker had just six catches for 48 yards for a eight-yard average per catch. On Oct. 17, 2010, Welker had seven catches for 53 yards. Welker was held out of the end zone in both meetings and of course, he suffered his season-ending knee injury on the final day of the 2009 season, keeping him out of the 33-14 loss to Baltimore in the playoffs.
But now, Welker could benefit from defensive schemes designed to control Rob Gronkowski and Aaron Hernandez.
“Hopefully it creates a lot of them,” Welker said of the potential man-to-man coverage in the slot and on the outside. “Any time you have great players on the field, it helps everybody out. We’re all in this together. When they get open like they do, it’s going to free-up other guys when they want to try and cover them. I just have to do the best job I can to get open whenever I get an opportunity.”
Welker, in turn, believes the Patriots can handle any pressure situation – physical or mental – because of their offensive leader, Tom Brady, who is playing with a reported sprained AC joint in his left shoulder.
“He’s always got a great mentality,” Welker said. “He’s one of the toughest guys I’ve ever been around. I can’t think of too many quarterbacks that don’t have a low completion percentage against the Ravens. I think that pretty much goes across the board in the NFL. I wouldn’t say he was the first or would be the last either. He’s obviously Tom. He’s going to fight and keep coming at them. We’re going to be right there with him.”
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