|Wes Welker gets knocked out as Patriots roll to 22-point win||11.02.14 at 11:04 pm ET|
Adding insult to injury, the Denver wide out was hit hard in the back by Devin McCourty in the third quarter following a Brandon Browner interception and he did not return to the game – although the game was pretty much in doubt at that point with Denver trailing by 23 points at the time.
“I’m OK,” said a visibly worn down and beat up Welker after the game.
Welker finished the game with just three catches for 31 yards on eight targets as Kyle Arrington did a very good job defensively on him in the slot.
It was Welker’s second time returning to Foxboro since joining the Broncos before the 2013 season after spending six seasons in New England. He is now 0-2 as Denver fell in overtime last year — a game where Welker muffed a punt in overtime to help set up the Patriots’ winning score.
“Any loss is a loss,” Welker said when asked if it was a tougher loss to take having it come against his former team. “It’s tough, but you just have regroup and get back to work.”
The Patriots have now won 34 straight home games against AFC opponents, the longest streak against a conference in NFL history. Having spent so long in New England, Welker knows first-hand how tough it is to beat the Patriots at home.
“It’s definitely a tough place to place,” said Welker. “We knew that going into it. We didn’t play our best.”
Denver is now 6-2 on the season and percentage points behind the Patriots for the best record in the AFC. But, at the midway point in the season there is still a lot of football left to be played and one game isn’t going to make or break a season.
“It’s a long season, we just have to regroup, get back to work and get better,” Welker said.
|Dont’a Hightower ‘definitely wants this to be a physical game’ against Broncos||11.01.14 at 2:59 pm ET|
FOXBORO — It’s about as close to knowing the game plan as your going to get when the Patriots play the Broncos.
Patriots linebacker Dont’a Hightower says if the Patriots are going to have a puncher’s chance Sunday against the high-powered, high-flying offense led by Peyton Manning, then the Patriots have to be physical with the Broncos, starting at the line of scrimmage.
“You definitely want this to be a physical game on our part,” said Hightower, who has assumed a good deal of leadership in the linebacker room since the loss of Jerod Mayo. “They have a lot of big, big receivers and a lot of quick guys. The one thing we can do that we’re going to have to do, and that we’re pretty good at, is being aggressive. [We could be] jamming [because] they have a lot of crosses [routes] so being aggressive and coming down on that. Peyton is going to get those guys the ball, no matter or when, whether they’re double-covered. We’re just going to have to do a real good job on the line of scrimmage and be aggressive with these guys.”
There’s a good reason for that. If Julius and Demaryius Thomas, Wes Welker, Emmanuel Sanders and Jacob Tamme get free releases off the line of scrimmage, they it could be a long day for the Patriots D chasing countless targets all over the field.
“They have a lot of great players,” Hightower said. “Obviously, you can’t double everybody. It’s just more or less about us going out there and executing. Those are great guys. They have a lot of great skill players. Jacob Tamme does a great job when he’s in there, Sanders and both Thomas guys. More or less, it’s just going to be us going out there and just wanting to have it more than they do.”
|Wes Welker says he knew Tom Brady would bounce back from sluggish start||10.30.14 at 5:30 am ET|
Welker, who played with Brady and the Patriots from 2007-12 before joining the Broncos, still maintains a friendship with the New England quarterback.
“I’m not surprised at all,” the Denver receiver said Wednesday. “I’ve seen it 100 times there, where it’s one bad week and everything’s falling apart … it’s one week and you can never really judge anything off that, and you knew they were going to bounce back from it.”
Welker said he and Brady “text back and forth” on occasion during the season, but it’s never really about football. (“It’s just really how he’s doing, the family and how my wife’s doing and stuff like that,” he said.) He said there probably won’t be much communication this week.
“This isn’t really a friend week this week,” he said. “So I don’t think so.”
Welker is in the second year of a two-year contract he signed with Denver in the spring of 2013, and has 19 catches for 181 yards and a touchdown this season with the Broncos. It represents a down year for the 5-foot-9, 190-pounder, who went from 118 catches in his final season with the Patriots (2012) to 73 last year, to now being on pace for roughly 40 this season.
However, he sounds OK with it, if that means more wins for Denver.
“Yeah it’s definitely been different, for sure,” he acknowledged. “Would I want the ball more? Yes. As long as we’re winning games and we’re being productive on offense and doing those things, I’m good with however we get that done.
“It’s kind of strange being … I feel like the weak link of our offense. [But] if I’m the weak link, we’re going to be OK. I’m excited about the guys we have and the camaraderie that we have together and really pulling for each other.”
He said he’s placing no added pressure on quarterback Peyton Manning to get him the ball Sunday because he’s going up against his old team.
|Bill Belichick is ‘way past’ Wes Welker’s hit on Aqib Talib||10.29.14 at 2:12 pm ET|
FOXBORO — Much was made of it at the time when Bill Belichick called it, “one of the worst plays [he’s] seen” when Broncos wide receiver Wes Welker hit then-Patriots cornerback Aqib Talib on an apparent pick play across the middle of the field in last year’s AFC Championship game — knocking Talib out of the game with a hip injury and the Patriots lost the game 26-16, ending their season.
But, Wednesday in advance of the Broncos-Patriots matchup this Sunday, Belichick said he’s put that in the past and actually has “a lot of respect” for Welker.
“[I am] way past that,” Belichick said on a conference call with the Denver media. “I have a lot of respect for Wes and what he did for us and what he’s done for the Broncos and what he’s done throughout his career.”
Welker was a member of the Patriots from 2007-12 before the Broncos signed him prior to the 2013 season as a free agent when Welker and New England couldn’t agree on a contract.
For more Patriots news, check out weei.com/patriots.
|Julian Edelman on MFB: Patriots offense ‘just not clicking’||09.22.14 at 12:07 pm ET|
Julian Edelman, who continues to be the only Patriots wide receiver to have any consistent production this season, joined the Middays with MFB crew for his weekly Monday appearance, one day after a 16-9 victory over the Raiders. To hear the interview, go to the MFB audio on demand page.
The Patriots offense has yet to find a groove this season, and the issues cropped up again Sunday as New England scored only one touchdown.
“It’s an overall offensive thing right now. We’re just not clicking,” Edelman said. “We haven’t played one of our best games yet. It’s early in the year. We’re 2-1, so you’ve got to look at that. We’re taking care of the ball. We just have to improve our third down and red area offense a little better and play those situations out better. I’m sure we’ll be going back this week, we’re going to analyze the film today, take from the bad and build from the good and just try to improve. That’s what you do. If you can improve every day in this game, in this league, that’s when your team starts getting good.”
Although the Patriots have won two games in a row, most of the talk has been negative due to the manner in which the offense has played. Edelman said he understands the reaction.
“There’s a lot of expectations out here, especially with the history that we’ve had,” he said. “But that’s all noise. We just have to continue to try to get better, day in and day out. If we get five plays better next game, then you get 10 plays better the next game, then you start to get into a little something, that’s when you start developing your stride. That’s what we’re going to try to do. We’re going to go out here and we’re going to practice hard. We have an extra day of practice, we have a big game coming up against Kansas City on Monday night, so as long as we just try to improve, everyone just do their job, we’ll be all right.”
|Wes Welker, 2 others reinstated under new NFL drug policy, no word on Brandon Browner, Brian Tyms||09.17.14 at 10:55 am ET|
Wes Welker can now begin getting ready for NFL action. Brian Tyms and Brandon Browner presumably must still wait.
Under terms of the new NFL/NFLPA drug policy, players who tested positive in the offseason for stimulants banned under the old PED policy will be reinstated. Patriots coach Bill Belichick was asked Wednesday if he’s heard from the league on the possible impact the new agreement might have on Browner and Tyms.
“You have to talk to the league about that,” Belichick said. “We don’t know anything. It’s a very confidential policy and it’s really handled between the league and the players. Coaches are really out of it. I’m like Sergeant Schultz [from Hogan’s Heroes]. I don’t know anything.”
The joint announcement released Wednesday morning named only three players who qualify to return this week: Welker, Cowboys defensive back Orlando Scandrick and Rams receiver Stedman Bailey.
This brings up the question of why Browner and Tyms, two Patriots with pre-existing four-game suspensions, must still serve their suspensions.
Dolphins defensive end Dion Jordan also argued that his four-game suspension came from taking a banned stimulant.
NFL.com’s Ian Rapoport reports that the league and players union have agreed to a higher threshold for a positive marijuana test and a two-game suspension upon conviction or plea agreement for driving under the influence.
HGH testing, according to the release, should begin by the end of the month and will be fully implemented this season. NFL.com’s Albert Breer reported Wednesday that union sources claim there should be approximately 20 players affected by retroactive enforcement of the new policy.
The names of all the players who are affected by the new policy won’t be made public, according to Breer. Some players who had entered into the early stages of the program will simply be moved back a step. Names are kept confidential in the early stages of the league’s drug program. Players on the first or second step of the marijuana policy could be moved back according to Breer.
|Adam Schefter on MFB: ‘I do not believe [Roger Goodell] saw that videotape’||09.12.14 at 12:53 pm ET|
ESPN’s Adam Schefter made his weekly appearance on Middays with MFB to discuss NFL news and the Patriots’ Week 2 game against the Vikings. To hear the interview, go to the MFB audio on demand page.
Schefter reported Friday that the league and the players association are close on finalizing a new drug policy, and it could have a major affect on players currently under suspension, including standout wide receivers Josh Gordon and Wes Welker.
“Here’s the deal, basically: They’re going to vote this afternoon at some point, by early evening, on a new drug policy,” Schefter said. “The feeling is it’s going to pass. I think there’s a basic, tentative agreement. But each of the player reps will have to vote on it. And once that happens, they can coordinate the vote later today, they get the results, assuming it passes, there’ll be a new drug policy. And part of that agreement will be to have many of the suspensions under the performance-enhancing device policy, the PED policy and the substance-abuse policy, they will wind up being reduced or going away.
“So, everyone will be different, but a case like Wes Welker, I think he’ll be allowed to play. Now, it’s Friday, not in the game plan, tough to imagine he’s going to play this week, but maybe he does. A case like Josh Gordon, facing a yearlong suspension, my understanding is it’s going to be an eight-game suspension. So, there’ll be different circumstances in each player. We’ll have to find out how it affects each one.”
Patriots cornerback Brandon Browner is sitting out the first four games of the season, and Schefter isn’t sure how he’ll be affected.
“I think the violation may have occurred prior to the agreement, so I don’t know how he’s impacted,” Schefter said. “My guess — just a guess, and I haven’t asked anybody this — is that he won’t be impacted by it. But I don’t know it.”
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