Tag:Wes Welker
Posted on: August 12, 2010 7:03 pm

No new deal for Brady pre-preseason; Welker out

Posted by Will Brinson

The Saints and the Patriots are currently warming up on the field at Gillette Stadium where they will kickoff their respective preseasons tonight.

Two things stand out about this game before the first snap has even been taken. One, Wes Welker is not playing, according to CSN's Tom Curran , who notes that people were, um, "interested" to know whether or not Welker was gonna play. Curran (who looks a lot like Drew Brees, no?) says he's "told there is no chance [Welker will play]. No. Chance. Chance? No."

Even more important, though, is the fact that Tom Brady has no new contract. And that means that the Patriots' star quarterback will indeed be playing football -- and therefore risking a theoretically large amount of money -- without any guarantee to his long term financial security.

Yes, security here is quite relative, as Tom Brady ain't exactly going broke any time soon. But if he (hypothetically) has his ACL blown out on the first play from scrimmage in a preseason game, things will be quite awkward.

So don't expect Brady to see too many snaps tonight. And if he sees a lot of pressure from the Saints or gets hit at all, expect him to kindly request Bob Kraft to join him back in the kitchen.

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Posted on: August 5, 2010 2:20 pm
Edited on: August 5, 2010 2:36 pm

5 Questions (or more) with Jerry Rice

Posted by Andy Benoit

Jerry Rice, the greatest wide receiver of all time will be inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame this weekend. We had a chance to chat with the legend. Here's what he had to say.

CBSSports.com: You’re going to the Hall of Fame this week, which means you’ve been out of football five years. So what has been most surprising to you in your post-football life?

Jerry Rice: The most surprising thing after football is that I’m still hungry. I’ve teamed up with Proctor and Gamble (for the Take it to the House program ). I’ve done Dancing with the Stars. The Nationwide (Golf) Tour. Getting ready for the Pro Football Hall of Fame. So, I’m busy, I’m enjoying life and I’m just living each day one at a time.

CBS: Have you had to shift your expectations as a competitor, or have you been able to scratch the competitive itch with these new things?

JR: I miss football. I miss it – I miss it with a passion. When I did Dancing with the Stars, there was a competitive nature there. Same with the Nationwide Tour. Anything I try, I’m always looking for perfection. I never had that ultimate game. I could have so many great things – 10 or 12 receptions, whatever, 20 touchdowns and still it would boil down to missing a block or blowing an assignment or something like that. So, I’m always searching for it (perfection) and hopefully one day I’ll get it.

CBS: You have a son playing at UCLA.

JR: Yeah, my son got redshirted his first year, so I’m hoping to see him on the football field this year.

CBS: Talk about your relationship with your son football-wise. Imagine it’d be both a blessing and a curse to be Jerry Rice’s son and play wide receiver.

JR: You know, I think my son does a great job of dealing with “Ok, yeah, my dad is Jerry Rice, who played for San Francisco and accomplished so many things”, but he’s just trying to be himself and I never try to put pressure on him. More than anything, I just want to support – just like a father. When I go to his ball games, I don’t try to critique him, but if he wants to talk about scenario, I’m willing to give him my input.

CBS: How often does he come to you for advice?

JR: He’ll call me up and say, “Hey Dad, what happens when you get a defensive back that wants to be physical at the line of scrimmage?” And I will tell him, “You have to win at the line. You have to dictate to that defensive back what you want to do. If anything, you have to be aggressive. That was my approach for 20 years, and I think I had some success doing it.”

CBS: You have a lot going on. But we both know, no matter what you do for the rest of your life, people are going to see you as a football legend first. Whenever you meet someone, that’s their image of you. Very few people have that in their life. How do you feel about that?

JR: I feel very fortunate because I was able to play the game for 20 years. That’s a long time. I think it shows my dedication to the game and how I would prepare myself in the offseason. A lot of guys are lucky to play for four years; I was able to exceed that by 16. I just feel honored.

CBS: Do you ever feel like part of you just wants to be treated as Jerry Rice Human Being rather than Jerry Rice Football Legend?

JR: You know what, I’ve never looked at myself as "the football legend". I had an opportunity to live a dream for so many people. I think a lot of guys can relate to me – even a lot of women – because when I stepped on a football field, you could tell there was a lot of appreciation there. If I’m walking through the airport or I’m doing whatever, I have people come up to me and say, “Hey, thank you for bringing so much gratification to my day just watching you play football on television or at the stadium.”

CBS: What’s something about yourself as a football player that you appreciate that other people maybe don’t appreciate – something you never got credit for that you’re proud of?

JR: It’s easy to become complacent, but I never gave in, I was always like a rookie trying to make the team and I continued to work hard. I would go training camp early with the rookies, and I felt like I had to prove myself every year.

CBS: What’s your single greatest accomplishment as a player?

JR: Oh my God. Ah….(laughs)…well, I would say the Super Bowls that we won. That’s why you play the game. Not the records, but having the opportunity to play on that stage and win it – that’s something I’ll never forget.

CBS: Wes Welker is coming back from a knee injury. You came back from a knee injury in the 90s. What’s it going to be like for Welker?

JR: I think with Wes Welker, it’s going to take him a second to gain the confidence he needs to be on the football field. He’s out there practicing right now and he’s probably doing everything. But after I came back, it was all about taking that first hit, being able to step up after that first hit and walk back to the huddle. It’s like “okay, I’m okay, I can go now.” I’m sure he’s waiting and anticipating that first hit, and I hope everything goes well for him.

CBS: Darrelle Revis shutdown a lot of No. 1 receivers last year. If you went up against him in the height of your career, what kind of numbers do you think you would have posted against him?

JR: You know, I never really would predict how many balls I would catch or how many touchdowns I would score. I think it would be the ultimate challenge for me. I enjoyed rivalries like that. Say like the Darrell Greene’s or the Deion Sanders’s. I would just go out there and try to dictate the game, and not wait on him for him to get his hands on me. I would be the aggressor, and hopefully come out with some catches and score a couple touchdowns.

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Posted on: August 1, 2010 1:51 pm
Edited on: August 1, 2010 2:35 pm

Welker makes return to practice

W. Welker made his return to practice today, six months after tearing his ACL (AP). Patriots WR Wes Welker made the leap from the Physically Unable to Perform list this morning to the practice field, and afterward, while talking with reporters, he said he feels like he never left. Basically, as smooth a transition back to football as he could have had.

That’s pretty amazing for someone who tore his ACL just six months ago. He doesn’t claim to be 100 percent healthy, but he’s making wonderful progress.

“It was great,” said Welker, who got a big ovation from the crowd when he appeared at practice this morning. “I was just happy to get out there and get to play and be out there with my teammates. That’s been my goal, and I’m just happy for today to finally get here. You all think it’s quick. It seems like a long time to me.”

For now, Welker isn’t involved with any 11-on-11 work or in any contact drills. He said he’s not sure when he’ll be allowed to practice fully, deflecting that decision to the team doctors and coaches. The big question mark in Welker’s mind is how fast he can return to full health.

“I think coming off the ball with a lot of explosion and making sure you are getting in and out of your cuts with separation,” Welker said, when asked what he needs to work on specifically. “(It’s) really just getting back into the swing of things. Whether you are hurt or not, when you haven’t played any sort of football for six months and you are just coming out there and trying to do it, there’s going to be some mishaps. You’re not going to be all there. You’re going to be a little bit rusty, so you have to knock that rust off and make sure that you’re coming back the way you need to.”

--Josh Katzowitz

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Category: NFL
Posted on: July 27, 2010 10:35 am
Edited on: July 27, 2010 10:37 am

Welker to PUP list

Better take a rain check on the “amazing comeback” story of Wes Welker…at least for now. It was reported that the Patriots receiver, fresh off February ACL surgery, would practice on the first day of training camp. However, Mike Reiss of ESPN Boston is reporting that Bill Belichick has decided to put Welker on the PUP list. Welker could come off the list anytime, though. W. Welker (US Presswire)

In the meantime, Julian Edelman, who may or may not be a Welker clone (experts are still investigating), will handle the underneath receiving chores.

-- Andy Benoit

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Category: NFL
Posted on: July 25, 2010 5:16 pm
Edited on: July 25, 2010 7:29 pm

Welker's return is nothing short of remarkable

Massachusetts radio station 98.5 The Sports Hub has been told that Wes Welker will be cleared to participate for the first day of training camp. The Boston Globe reported Saturday that Welker, who had surgery on a torn left ACL in January, is healthy and ready to go.

Needless to say, this is nothing short of remarkable. The last big name player to recover so quickly from a torn ACL was Philip Rivers. But there’s a stark difference between Rivers and Welker. Rivers, being a quarterback, plays a stationary brand of football (so to speak). Most of his movement is in the north/south direction. He must plant on his knee, but he rarely has to plant and then move.

A receiver, on the other hand, is required to make frequent east/west movements, with explosive cuts after planting their foot. This is especially true for a catch-and-run magician like Welker.

Steelers Hall of Fame defensive back Rod Woodson came back from an ACL within six months. As a corner, he was required to make those east/west movements. Woodson, however, only had to prime himself for one game (Super Bowl XXX against the Cowboys). The success of Welker’s return will be measured on his effectiveness over a five-to-six-month span. Because of this, expect the Patriots to bring Welker along slowly during training camp.

-- Andy Benoit

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Posted on: July 23, 2010 4:27 pm

Welker will be at Patriots camp

The Boston Globe picks up this bit of news from 98.5 The Sports Hub that says New England WR Wes Welker will be a full participant at the upcoming Patriots training camp. He hasn’t been medically cleared yet, but that’s expected to be a formality at this point.

Considering Welker is coming off a 123-catch season in 2009 and that he’s recovering well from knee surgery – which he talked about with Will in a “Five questions (or more) ” segment earlier this week – that’s a big deal for New England.

From the Globe:

And yes, that's huge news.

It's not that surprising, of course (considering what we saw in the spring), but it signifies a certain amount of confidence the team has in Welker's recovery. By putting Welker out there next week, the Patriots would forgo the ability to put him on PUP, and lose the chance to save his roster spot for the first six weeks of the season. So this decision is tied to one of those 53 places at the table when the season starts.

--Josh Katzowitz

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Category: NFL
Posted on: July 16, 2010 1:16 pm
Edited on: July 16, 2010 2:07 pm

Position rankings: wide receivers

A. Johnson makes a TD catch over Chicago's C. Tillman (Getty). Josh Katzowitz and Andy Benoit resume their debate, with today’s focus on wide receivers.

Andy Benoit’s top five

5. Brandon Marshall, Dolphins

4. Calvin Johnson, Lions

3. Larry Fitzgerald, Cardinals

2. Reggie Wayne, Colts

1. Andre Johnson, Texans

I wish we could do top 10 receivers – this position is flooded with talent. A lot of times, a receivers’ success depends on the system he’s in. For example, Miles Austin, with his fluidity and speed, produces like a top five receiver in Dallas’s catch-and-run offense. But could he succeed in a downfield “power-throwing” offense like Vincent Jackson does in San Diego? Probably not.

As you can see, I like receivers with freakish athleticism and size. These five guys can dominate in any system. Shuffle Fitzgerald, Wayne and Andre Johnson in any order you want – just don’t drop Wayne from the Top 3 and tell me it’s because he plays with Peyton Manning. Wayne might be themost fundamentally-sound player in the entire NFL.

Calvin Johnson hasn’t done anything yet, but that’s only because he’s stuck in Detroit. He’s at least 125 percent as gifted as anyone on this list.

I’m willing to have just about any discussion that pertains to the best receiver in the game – just as long as you don’t try to sell me Randy Moss. As a deep threat, Moss is the best ever. As an all-around receiver (route running, blocking, reading coverages, etc.), he’s average.

Josh Katzowitz’s top five

5. Calvin Johnson, Lions

4. Wes Welker, Patriots

3. Reggie Wayne, Colts

2. Larry Fitzgerald, Cardinals

1. Andre Johnson, Texans

I agree with everything you said about Johnson. He’s the best WR out there today. He seemingly has it all. He runs great routes, he can make the tough catches in traffic, and he has great athleticism.

Fitzgerald has recorded 25 touchdown catches the past two years, more than any other receiver. Plus, his dad is a sportswriter – which bodes pretty well for my children. I like him just a little bit better than Wayne, who’s more experienced but not quite as athletic and who, like you said, has the benefit of catching balls from one of the greatest quarterbacks in NFL history. But I agree with the top-three – which, truth be told, is hard to argue against.

I’ve got to go with Welker at No. 4. He has sneaky speed, he can read any defense, and his yards-after-contact numbers are extraordinary. Will he be the same receiver after his knee problems? Well, we won’t know that until the regular season begins, but for now, Welker is a top-five guy. I’m interested to hear your take on Welker, Andy. I dropped Johnson to No. 5, because he flubs too many catches.

I thought hard about putting San Diego’s (for now) Vincent Jackson on the list. He has a very high yards-per-catch average, and he’s a very good blocker. But with the three-game suspension and the fact he might hold out for much of the season, I just couldn’t pull the trigger. I also thought about Sidney Rice, but one season doesn’t make a career. Where do you stand with those guys?

Andy’s rebuttal

I have no problem with Welker being top five. The numbers are there – 346 catches for 3,368 yards over the last three seasons – and there isn’t a little thing he doesn’t do right. Welker is the sustaining element of New England’s offense. I left him off my list because he’s essentially confined to the slot.

Jackson might be the best deep threat in the NFL right now. And while I’m on numbers, I’ll mention that 58 of Jackson’s 68 receptions last season resulted in a first down. Of everyone you mentioned, Josh, Rice is the only player I never considered. He had a great ’09 campaign, but given his (albeit short) track record, I need to see him do it at least once more.

Josh, you surprised everyone by not taking a principled stand and including a “solid, scrappy (read: white)” backup receiver like Mike Furrey or Austin Collie on your list. Since this made our lists virtually identical, how about we do the top three wide receiver duos in the NFL? But let’s put a wrinkle in it: top three duos, but no member of the duos can be on our top five list (i.e. no Moss-Welker, Wayne-Garcon or Johnson-Walter). Here’s what I have:

1. Donald DriverGreg Jennings, Packers. Perfect fits for Green Bay’s quick-slanting system.

2. Vincent Jackson – Malcolm Floyd, Chargers. Their size and speed creates nightmares for defensive coordinators and allows Antonio Gates to work against safeties and linebackers.

3. DeSean JacksonJeremy Maclin, Eagles. Jackson is fast becoming the best big-play weapon in the game. Maclin, in only his second season, could soon emerge as another version of Jackson.

Josh’s final word

Jeez, Andy, you make it sound like I put backups on my top five lists. Hey, I wasn’t the one who put Chad Greenway on my 4-3 outside linebackers list. That was you.

I’ll play your game, though.

1. Driver – Jennings, Packers. You’re absolutely right about these guys, Andy. Driver has been really good for many years, and though neither of these guys are top 10 by themselves, they help make Aaron Rodgers look really good.

2. Sidney Rice – Percy Harvin, Vikings. These guys are young – 23 and 22, respectively – and with Brett Favre throwing passes their way probably for the next … oh, say … five or 10 years (psst, he’s never going to retire), the Minnesota offense will continue to be very dangerous.

3. Jackson - Floyd, Chargers. We've talked about Jackson, but Floyd was solid last year after the Chargers waived Chris Chambers. He obviously needs to score more touchdowns - he only had one last season - but his 6-foot-5 stature will continue to grab the attention of QB Philip Rivers.

Other positions: Safety | Cornerback | 3-4 Scheme Outside Linebacker | Punter  | Kicker | 4-3 Scheme Outside Linebacker | Inside Linebacker  | Defensive Tackle  | Defensive End | Offensive Tackle   | Center | Offensive Guard | Tight End )

--Josh Katzowitz and Andy Benoit

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Posted on: July 16, 2010 11:06 am
Edited on: July 16, 2010 2:00 pm

Five questions (or more) with Wes Welker

W. Welker speaks at the Gatorade National Athlete awards (US Presswire). (Quickly: Hello there, I'm Will Brinson and I'm new here. And while I'll be hanging around a lot, I thought that, rather than having me go through some introduction and telling you how excited I am and whatnot, you'd just as soon read an interview with Wes Welker instead? Sounds good. Excellent.)

Wes Welker has a rollercoaster of a resume: he's gone from the Gatorade Oklahoma Football Player of the Year, to being unsigned until a week after National Signing Day, to setting Texas Tech records while he was in Lubbock, to going undrafted, to getting waived by the Chargers, to becoming one of the most dangerous wide receivers in football as a member of the New England Patriots.

Of course, Welker suffered a nasty injury in Week 17 vs. the Texans last year, forcing him to spend his entire offseason rehabbing his knee. CBSSports.com was at the 2010 Gatorade High School Athlete of the Year Awards in Los Angeles Wednesday, where Welker was an honored guest, and we had a chance to catch up with him to talk about how far along he is with the injury.

1. CBS Sports: How's the knee, man?

Wes Welker: It's going good. Kind of trucking along, each day, and trying to get better and just get back after it.

2. CBS: Originally, everyone was saying you'd miss a pretty good amount of time, like the first six weeks or so, and now there are rumors that you've been running around pretty well on the field. Think you'll be ready by the beginning of the season?

WW: I don't know, honestly. It's still a long ways off and I feel like I still have a long ways to go, so I can't really set a time table on it. But when it's ready, that's when I'm going to make the jump and see how it is.

CBS: Do you take extra precaution on the time since your game is so predicated on quick cuts?

WW: Yeah, I think you do, especially with this kind of injury. You want to make sure you're ready to go and stay on top of things. It's easy to do things in a controlled environment, but when you get out on the field it's a little bit different. So you've got to make sure not only is your knee ready for that, but your mind is ready for that as well.

3. CBS: Alright, there's been some mild controversy chatter about Tom Brady being out on the West Coast a lot, doing the family thing, instead of really being the "first-in, last-out" guy that he usually was during the preseason. Is that an issue with the team at all ?

WW: I don't think so. I don't really see it being a problem. Tom is still the first guy in, last guy out. Just because he's on the West Coast doesn't mean he's working any less. The guy's the hardest worker you'll ever be around – it's always “one more throw” with him, he's always trying to see what else he can get in. So I don't really see it being a problem or anything like that. Tom's going to come and bring his game no matter what he has to do, and, he's fully going to support his teammates just like we're going to fully support him.

4. CBS: Cool deal. Let's talk about the AFC East this year, because it's getting pretty tough pretty fast. The Dolphins landed Brandon Marshall, the Jets are improved, so how do you approach this year looking at your division? Is it any different than years past?

WW: Absolutely, man. We have a lot of talent in our division, a lot of good teams. It's going to be tough to even win the division, much less win a game. It's definitely going to be a tough year and we're definitely going to have to take those games very seriously and make sure we're bringing it, because the Jets made a lot of great moves, along with the Dolphins. And the Bills have a new coach, so there's a new mindset around there. So you gotta make sure you're bringing it every day and staying on the same level with those guys, because they have a lot of great players and there are going to be some teams to reckon with.

5. CBS: Alright, you weren't the national Gatorade Player of the Year, but you did win the Oklahoma player of the year. How crazy is it to see what they're doing here?

WW: Yeah, it's pretty wild. I guess they trick some of the kids into thinking they've been nominated or whatever and come to their school and tell them they need to shoot a video and then spring it on them.

And it's funny, them telling the story, and I was like, "Yeah, well, I opened up the USA Today and there's this two-page, long deal and I scanned down to find Oklahoma and over here on the middle right corner and there's 'Football' and 'Wes Welker'" …

CBS: And then you just gave your dad a high five over breakfast, or something, right?

WW: [Laughing] Yeah, yeah, exactly, man. I didn't realize you get to travel out to Los Angeles and hang out at the ESPY? It's pretty crazy stuff.

To read the Five questions (or more) with Harvey Unga, click here .

--Will Brinson

For more NFL news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsnfl on Twitter.

Category: NFL
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com