Seattle's scondary a big problem for Welker, Patriots


Seattle's scondary a big problem for Welker, Patriots

FOXBORO -- Wes Welker hasn't had much of a problem getting open in the last three weeks, but he knows that the Seattle secondary he'll face on Sunday presents a unique challenge with its size.

Seattle's larger-than-average defensive backs will be tasked with slowing down the Patriots offense and their diminutive, but ridiculously productive, slot receiver. Welker grabbed his first touchdown of the season last week against Denver, and he had over 100 yards receiving for the third week in a row.

"It's always a challenge in the NFL so especially with these guys it's going to be really tough," Welker said. "You gotta make sure you're not sloppy, you're physical and quick and fast and all those different things in order to get open."

Seattle's secondary has helped make the Seahawks defense one of the toughest in the league, allowing just 258.6 yards per game (best in the NFL) and 14.0 points per game (second best). Their size and their length allows them to be physical with receivers and sometimes get their hands on balls that other defensive backs can't.

Cornerbacks Brandon Browner (6-foot-4, 221 pounds) and Richard Sherman (6-3, 195) man the edges, while at the back end of the secondary is safety Kam Chancellor (6-3, 232).

"These guys are long, theyre extremely big, theyre 6-4, 6-3 corners," Bill Belichick said Wednesday. "You just dont see them very often, and to see them on one team, theyre hard to get away from. Theyre big and theyre physical and they take up a lot of space. A lot of guys arent used to going up against that size a player 220-pound corners.

"For the quarterback, its hard because its no different than playing against a taller middle linebacker, a guy like Brian Urlacher or somebody like that whos 6-4, 6-5 in the middle of the field. Their range and their height just make those throws in the middle a little tougher."

Welker (5-9, 185 pounds) is accustomed to seeing defensive backs slightly taller than him, but Seattle's secondary is a whole different animal. He said the unusual length of their defensive backs is something that's hard to prepare for and laughed when it was suggested that the Patriots might need to deploy their tight ends for the scout team secondary in order to give a similar look.

"You'd almost have to," Welker said. "It's kind of hard to replicate Seattle's size but you just watch a lot of film and go out there and practice how you're gonna play on Sunday and make sure you're doing the things you need to do to get open and get that separation and different things like that. It's definitely hard to replicate, and you just gotta make sure you're watching enough film and staying on top of everything so that you're ready to go on Sunday."

Quick Slants Podcast: Gostkowski’s woes with Chuck Zodda


Quick Slants Podcast: Gostkowski’s woes with Chuck Zodda

New England Patriots kicker Stephen Gostkowski has now missed five kicks on the year, including field goals against the Miami, Buffalo and Cleveland. 

In an emergency podcast, Tom E. Curran speaks with Chuck Zodda of Inside The Pylon about Stephen Gostkowski’s kicking woes.

SUBSCRIBE Audioboom | iTunes | Google Play | Stitcher

Geno Smith has torn ACL; Ryan Fitzpatrick to start for Jets


Geno Smith has torn ACL; Ryan Fitzpatrick to start for Jets

The Jets’ quarterback situation took a comically typical turn Monday, as Ryan Fitzpatrick will be under center after an MRI revealed that Geno Smith has a torn ACL. 

After starting New York’s first six games of the season, Fitzpatrick was demoted to backup for Sunday’s game against the Ravens. Smith was injured on a sack by Baltimore’s Matt Judon, forcing Fitzpatrick back into action. 

After leading the Jets to a 24-16 win, Fitzpatrick made his dissatisfaction with being benched known. 

“The biggest thing in this game in order to last, is to have belief in yourself,” Fitzpatrick said in his postgame press conference. “Because when the owner stops believing in you and the GM stops believing in you and the coaches stop believing in you, sometimes all you have is yourself. That’s something that I’ve had to deal with before. That’s something I’m dealing with now.”

On the season, Fitzpatrick has completed 136 of 237 passes for 1,561 yards with six touchdowns and a league-leading 11 interceptions.