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Tag:Wes Welker
Posted on: February 7, 2012 8:00 pm
 

Antrel Rolle on Patriots: 'It wasn't their time'

New York's secondary blew a coverage on what turned out to be the turning point in the game. (NFL.com)

By Ryan Wilson

In the hours and days since the Giants beat the Patriots in Super Bowl XLVI, the prevailing storyline has been about wide receiver Wes Welker and the drop. Except that the play in question -- a fourth-down pass with 4:06 left in the game and the Pats leading 17-15 -- wasn't so much a drop as a poor throw from Tom Brady. We said as much at the time although those sentiments weren't universally shared. (And never mind NBC's Cris Collinsworth announcing that Welker makes that grab "100 times out of a 100." Uh, no he doesn't.)

On Monday, Giants safety Antrel Rolle appeared on 1090 Sports Radio in San Diego to talk about the Brady-to-Welker misfire that set up New York's game-winning drive.

“Well actually there was a communication error on that play," Rolle said via SportsRadioInterviews.com. "That was guys playing two different coverages and we tried to relay the right coverage down, but once you’re locked in…you are locked in. We tried to relay the coverage a little too late. Some guys were playing one coverage while others were playing another, but through it all things like that happen. Things like that tend to get away from you in the game and we just thank god that Wes didn’t make that catch."

Rolle's right. Looking at the replay, before the snap, safeties Deon Grant (No. 34) and Kenny Phillips (21) appear to be relaying coverage information to cornerback Corey Webster (21) and Rolle (26). As Rolle noted Monday, there was some confusion.

Not everybody in the Giants' secondary was playing the same coverage on the play.  (NFL.com)

Welker, in the slot, comes off the line of scrimmage untouched and when Rolle slows up while Welker continues running down the seam, it creates a huge window (see the image at the top of this post). One that on any other day, Brady stripes, hits Welker in stride, with a touchdown the likely result. Just not Sunday night. (After the ball falls to the turf, Phillips turns immediately to Rolle and they talk about the coverage responsibilities on the play.)

"It wasn’t their time," Rolle said. "It wasn’t their time. Everyone has a fair…has a time where…they needed their time. [Sunday] just wasn’t New England’s time. They’re an outstanding football team. One of the best football teams I have ever played against and I don’t like going up against them too much because I know what they bring to the table. With that being said we got to go out there and do what we need to do as a team. Go out there and be the best we can be.”

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Posted on: February 6, 2012 10:46 pm
Edited on: February 6, 2012 10:50 pm
 

Belichick is 'real proud' of 2011 Patriots team

Despite the way the season ended, Belichick is "real proud" of this Pats team. (AP)
By Will Brinson

The way that one game -- or even one play -- changes historical perspective in the NFL is fascinating. Eli Manning can do no wrong right now and Tom Brady can't really do anything right. The Patriots are a team that hasn't won a title in seven years, which might make them chokers.

Giants 21, Patriots 17

But that's not stopping Bill Belichick from expressing that he's "real proud" of this season's Patriots team and all they accomplished.

"[I'm] real proud of them," Belichick said. "I thought they worked hard all year, they competed well all season. We won a lot of games and even the ones we didn’t win, we fought right to the end and played very competitively. We did that last night, just came up a little bit short. I have all the respect in the world for the team and all the players and what they’ve done for over six months.

"It’s not about one game or one play or anything, it’s the whole body of work. I really, really enjoyed coaching this team and have a lot of respect for them."

Look, Belichick should be proud of this team. Despite having no vertical offense and having no defense whatsoever, they managed to land the No. 1 seed in the AFC, run the table in the playoffs and get within a play or two of winning their fourth Super Bowl with Belichick running the show.

Earlier in the season, there was an argument to be made that this was Belichick's finest coaching job to date. Suddenly it's not because they couldn't close? That seems odd.

But it's the nature of the beast in the NFL, particularly when the hype machine runs 24/7. Still, you can't fault Belichick for being proud of a team that overachieved despite significant weaknesses, especially when they nearly won another Lombardi Trophy.

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Posted on: February 6, 2012 10:13 am
Edited on: February 8, 2012 3:11 pm
 

Gisele can't believe Pats dropped so many passes

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By Ryan Wilson

In general, Tom Brady leads a charmed life. He's an NFL quarterback, three-time Super Bowl champ, UGG spokesman -- and the cherry on top -- he's married to supermodel Gisele Bündchen. Yes, the Patriots fell to the Giants Sunday night in Super Bowl XLVI, and yes Brady was distraught by the outcome, but in the scheme of things, it won't define his career.

Of course, the criticism in the hours after the loss were swift and, well, critical. Brady was accused of a horrible performance even though he started 20 of 24, broke Joe Montana's Super Bowl completion record in the process, then suffered a Justin Tuck sack that changed everything. He finished the night 7 of 17 and a slightly off-target throw to Wes Welker with four minutes to go ultimately proved to be the difference.

Gisele, who was at the game, had to endure jeers and taunts from Giants fans as she left her suite at Lucas Oil Stadium.

“Eli rules!” screamed one fan. “Eli owns your husband!” yelled another.

Gisele's response?

“You (have) to catch the ball when you’re supposed to catch the ball,” she snapped back, according to CBS New York. “My husband cannot (bleeping) throw the ball and catch the ball at the same time. I can’t believe they dropped the ball so many times.”

Welker took full responsibility for not coming down with a Brady throw that was also high and behind him.

"The ball is right there," Welker said when asked if he was looking for it on the other shoulder. "I've just got to make the play. It's a play I've made a thousand times in practice and everything else. It comes to the biggest moment of my life and I don't come up with it. It's discouraging."

Brady, for his part, didn't waver in his support of Welker.

"Wes was running down the field and it looked like they messed the coverage up a little bit and I threw it to him," said Brady. "(Welker) went up to try and make it, as he always does, and we just couldn't connect. He's a hell of a player. I'll keep throwing the ball to him for as long as I possible can. He's a phenomenal player and teammate and I love that guy."

Apparently, a TMZ source says that Brady's teammates are "disappointed" and feel betrayed by Gisele's comments. 

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Posted on: February 6, 2012 12:39 am
Edited on: February 6, 2012 6:41 am
 

Welker takes Super Bowl loss the hardest

Welker reacts after his drop in the fourth quarter. (AP)
By Will Brinson

INDIANAPOLIS -- There are many people in the Patriots organization suffering the pains of losing a Super Bowl right now; Bill Belichick, Tom Brady and Robert Kraft all certainly feel an inordinate amount of pain over the loss. But no one's taking it harder than Wes Welker.

It was Welker who had a shot at closing out the game, but dropped a critical catch on a high-but-catchable pass from Tom Brady.

"It's one of those plays I've made a thousand times," a somber Welker said Sunday. "Just didn't make it."

Take a look at the play. Brady misses the throw. If he hits Welker in stride, it's a touchdown and it's ballgame. But it's still on Welker to make that catch.

"The ball is right there," Welker said when asked if he was looking for it on the other shoulder. "I've just got to make the play. It's a play I've made a thousand times in practice and everything else. It comes to the biggest moment of my life and I don't come up with it. It's discouraging."

Welker even went so far as to say that he held himself personally responsible for the dropped pass. Brady didn't exactly refute him, but he also pointed out how important Welker is to the team.

"Wes was running down the field and it looked like they messed the coverage up a little bit and I threw it to him," Brad said. "He went up to try and make it, as he always does, and we just couldn't connect. He's a hell of a player. I'll keep throwing the ball to him for as long as I possibly can. He's a phenomenal player and teammate and I love the guy."

Bill Belichick echoed that sentiment, shrugging off any potential for making Welker the goat.

"I didn't get a real good look on it," Belichick said. "I'm sure he did his best. He's caught a lot of passes for us."

Belichick's right, because the Patriots don't make the Super Bowl in either 2007 or 2011 without Welker. He has been their most consistent offensive threat for the past five years, catching 554 balls for 6,105 yards and 31 touchdowns in that time.

That he could suddenly become a goat for the Pats because he dropped one catch isn't realistic. Just don't try telling him that.

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Posted on: February 5, 2012 8:32 pm
Edited on: February 5, 2012 8:42 pm
 

Brady breaks Montana's SB completion record

Follow all of CBSSports.com's Full Super Bowl Coverage (Ryan Wilson, CBSSports.com)
By Will Brinson

INDIANAPOLIS -- The Pats were sloppy in the first half, but Tom Brady came on strong late, leading them to a 96-yard touchdown drive. He picked up right where he left off in the second half, completing his first five passes of the Patriots first drive.

But he didn't just lead the Pats to another touchdown (and a 17-9 lead), he also broke Joe Montana's Super Bowl-record of 13-straight completions. With 13:22 remaining in the third quarter, Brady hit Wes Welker for a short pass to the left that went for five yards, giving him 14 consecutive completions and breaking the Montana record.

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Brady clearly wasn't satisfied, though, and he hit his next two passes, including a 12-yard touchdown to Aaron Hernandez. Brady was so spectacular, in fact, that he even managed to get Chad Ochocinco involved.

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Posted on: February 5, 2012 5:45 pm
 

Chad Ochocinco drops several balls in warmups

Follow all of CBSSports.com's Full Super Bowl Coverage (Ryan Wilson, CBSSports.com)
By Will Brinson

INDIANAPOLIS -- There's this pervading sense that Chad Ochocinco, who's active for Sunday's game, is going to be the dark horse hero. Based on warmups, that seems unlikely: Ocho dropped several balls that were squarely in his breadbasket.

These weren't tough to pull off passes either. Ocho got one pass from Brian Hoyer that hit both his hands and fell to the ground. Then he ran a medium out, Tom Brady pegged him squarely in the hands and the ball fell to the ground in Lucas Oil.

They were the only two balls I saw dropped during the Patriots warmup.

The wideout is currently rocking red shoes and red gloves; he's the only Patriots wide receiver or tight end who's doing so. (You can read between the lines and determine what that means within the context of how the Patriots operate.)

He also reportedly put his gold teeth back in, trying to go back to "the old Chad Johnson."

Maybe his performance in warm-ups is just another red herring from the Patriots. But that looks pretty unlikely: the only mind-games being played with Ochocinco, given the easy passes he dropped from Brady, is going on in his own head.

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Posted on: January 31, 2012 3:23 pm
Edited on: January 31, 2012 3:36 pm
 

Welker: Belichick nicer due to 'lady in his life'

Welker thinks Belichick's happy because of a 'lady in his life.' (Ryan Wilson, CBSSports.com)
By Will Brinson

INDIANAPOLIS -- By all accounts, the version of Bill Belichick that showed up at this year's Super Bowl is a kinder, gentler version of the Hoodie. Or funnier. Whatever it is, Belichick's clearly in a chipper mood this week.

But what's the cause? Well, Patriots wide receiver Wes Welker has one theory: Belichick's dating life.

Full Super Bowl Coverage

"I don’t know, I think he’s enjoying himself," Welker said when asked about Belichick's demeanor.  "I think he’s got a lady in his life, so that could definitely be the case; I don’t know.  We’re just coming here to try and win a ballgame.  However we do that or whatever demeanor we have to take, that’s what it’s going to be."

It's entirely possible that Welker's right. (You should've seen how cynical I was before Mrs. Brinson.) But just to make sure, we asked him again.

"A lot of people have been asking me that," Welker said laughing. "I attribute it to Linda, personally."

This isn't Welker's first run-in with sly press conference humor. The dude knows how to slip a joke or two into a media appearance and have a little fun. But it's not the kind of thing you'd hear from all the Patriots -- Deion Branch, asked about his thoughts on Belichick's demeanor, was a little surprised at Welker's theory.

"He said what?" Branch said before busting out laughing. "I don't know. That's what Welker said? Coach told us to have fun, but not that much fun."


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Posted on: January 29, 2012 5:30 pm
Edited on: January 30, 2012 3:17 pm
 

25,000 Pats fans send team on way to Indy

By Josh Katzowitz

INDIANAPOLIS -- Showing their dedication to their beloved Patriots -- or just proving that there’s not much going on in Foxboro on non-football Sunday mornings -- New England fans waved goodbye to their team during a pep rally just before the Patriots took buses to the airport that led them here Sunday evening.

The team website points out that an estimated crowd of 25,000 descended upon Gillette Stadium for the pep rally.

[CBSSports.com's Full Super Bowl Coverage]

One of the highlights of the day was Wes Welker’s appearance in front of the mic. “Y’all ready for some football?” shouted Welker, who couldn’t finish a sentence without the crowd cheering madly for him. “Are you going to yell at everything I say?” he said before yielding the stage to his teammates.

Some players dressed garishly stylishly, as Deion Branch sported a white sports coat and linebacker Brandon Spikes somehow successfully showed off his pink suit.

“We’re going on a business trip,” linebacker Jerod Mayo told the crowd. “Hopefully we can bring back a championship.”

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