Welker hoping to be happier after Houston rematch


Welker hoping to be happier after Houston rematch

FOXBORO -- Wes Welker probably has some ugly memories from the last time New England played the Texans. 
It's not the fact that his team lost that game, the 2009 regular-season finale. No, it's that Welker tore both the ACL and MCL in his left knee that day. 
This Friday, he was prompted to remember.
"I try not to think about it too much. I appreciate you bringing that up," he said sardonically. "But I've just moved on from it, and worked hard to get better, and luckily I am where I'm at today."
Welker's production in New England -- both before and after the injury -- is remarkable. 
He's led the league in receiving three different times since joining the Patriots in 2007. With eight more catches in 2012, he'll become the first receiver in NFL history to have 100 or more in five seasons.
Can he appreciate the milestone upon approach? Not really.
"Maybe when I'm done," Welker guessed. "Right now I'm just focused on however many catches I need to get to help us win. Whatever that is is what it is.
"I'm really just trying to move forward. I don't really think about the past all that much. What's done is done. We just continue to get better and try to win."
When the Patriots take on Houston this time, they will already be dealing with not one, but two significant injuries to the receiving corps: Tight end Rob Gronkowski, who suffered a broken forearm November 18 against the Colts, and Julian Edelman, who left last week's Miami game because of a season-ending foot fracture. 
New England has since re-signed Donte' Stallworth, but the weight on Welker's shoulders could still be heavier than usual. Whereas he averaged 9.25 targets through the first four games of the season, he's gotten 12.5 through the last four. 
He doesn't worry about the way the numbers rise and fall. Welker's concern is that when quarterback Tom Brady needs a target, somebody is there. 
"I think it puts pressure on everybody. Everybody has to come out, everybody has to step up and come out and play the way we need to to win the game."
A victory against Houston, whether with two catches or 10, is all Welker wants this week. 
It would certainly make for better memories. 

Griff Whalen practicing for Patriots, wearing No. 14


Griff Whalen practicing for Patriots, wearing No. 14

FOXBORO -- The Patriots took to the practice field behind Gillette Stadium on Friday with all but one player. 

Wideout Danny Amendola was the only player not present at the session. Newly-acquired receiver Griff Whalen was present and wearing No. 14. 

Safety Jordan Richards was back on the practice field for the first time since suffering a knee injury against the Jets in Week 12. Martellus Bennett (ankle/shoulder), Elandon Roberts (hamstring), Eric Rowe (hamstring) and Matthew Slater (foot) were all limited in practice on Thursday, but were on the field Friday.

Friday, Dec. 9: John Scott calls it quits

Friday, Dec. 9: John Scott calls it quits

Here are all the links from around the hockey world and what I’m reading while digging the Spider-Man trailer that dropped last night. 

*John Scott has finally called it a day and announced his retirement, and apparently there’s a book of his memoirs also coming out too. I’m predicting it’s not headed for the New York Times best seller list. 

*Winter Olympics participation and the CBA negotiations for the NHL are starting to merge into giant issue.  

*Connor McDavid calls the Flyers' Brandon Manning classless for telling him on the ice that he purposefully tried to hurt him last season. Some players might also take issue with McDavid making public what another player said to him on the ice. That’s kind of a no-no for most hockey players and breaks an unwritten rule that McDavid might think he’s above given his star status. This whole thing isn’t a good look for anybody. 

*Kevin Stevens pleads guilty to federal drug charges in what’s become a pretty sad situation for the former NHL star. 

*New York Rangers goaltender Henrik Lundqvist is beginning to raise questions with his play, and his massive price tag. 

*Youngsters Zach Weresnki and Dylan Larkin took similar paths to the NHL, and are both considered part of the talented young generation full of hockey stars. 

*PHT writer Joey Alfieri has Carey Price taking a nutty on Kyle Palmieri after the player crashed into his crease last night. Price is being celebrated for sticking up for himself, but if another goalie did that to a Habs player at the Bell Centre, there would already be a warrant out for his arrest. Play it both ways, Montreal!  

*For something completely different: here’s the aforementioned new Spider-Man: Homecoming trailer that looks pretty darn good.