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Wes Welker: ‘It would have been nice to get a few more reps’ in preseason

09.06.12 at 6:39 pm ET

FOXBORO — Ready or not, here comes the regular season.

Patriots wide receiver Wes Welker said Thursday that while ‘€œit would have been nice to get a few more reps’€ in the preseason, but now is not the time to be looking back.

‘€œFootball is football. It would have been nice to get a few more reps and things like that, but at the same time, you know, I’€™ve been in this offense for a while. I understand it,’€ said Welker, who is entering his sixth season with the Patriots and ninth year in the NFL. ‘€œI know what I need to do and whatever I need to do from the coaches’€™ perspective to help this team win, that’€™s what I’€™m going to do.’€

Welker said that the reps in practice have ‘€œbeen good,’€ which has allowed him to maintain the necessary focus going into the regular season.

‘€œI think any time you’€™re out there, you have to focus and go out there and do your job to the best of your ability,’€ he said. ‘€œThat’€™s something I have to continue to do — go out there and focus and try and play well and do what I do.’€

One of the side benefits to being a veteran who doesn’€™t take a whole lot of reps in the preseason is that you get to save your body for the regular season. But even then, it takes some time to get used to the physical pounding.

‘€œI’€™d rather have to not take any hits at all,’€ he said with a smile. ‘€œ[But] it’€™s part of the game. I think going into the season, you always have those first few weeks are a little rougher, and as your body gets used to it, it gets better. You just have to sit there and do the best you can and take care of your body and make sure you’€™re ready week in and week out.’€

The 31-year-old Welker, who joined the Patriots prior to the 2007 season, has grown into one of the older players in the New England locker room — the only two offensive players who predate his arrival in Foxboro are quarterback Tom Brady and offensive lineman Logan Mankins. On Thursday, the wide receiver said it was a bit odd.

‘€œThis locker room is starting to make me feel old now,’€ he said. ‘€œIt’€™s been good. [There’€™s] been a lot of energy. A lot of energetic-type guys. Young guys. I think the main thing is really focusing in, day-in, day-out, and understanding that its a long season and you’€™ve got to keep on maturing and keep on playing well throughout the season.’€

As for the lack of depth at wide receiver — the Patriots are carrying just four traditional wide receivers, as well as part-timer/special teamer Matthew Slater — Welker says it doesn’€™t necessarily create any extra pressure on him this season.

‘€œNot really. I think you just go out there and play the best you can and not really worry about that stuff,’€ he shrugged. ‘€œIt is what it is. You just roll with it and go out there and do the best you can and go out there and execute the best you can.

‘€œI think we’€™re ready to start and get in a regular-season mode and ready to play against other people and get out there and compete where it counts.’€

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