Notes: 'Foot' talk earns Welker an early benching


Notes: 'Foot' talk earns Welker an early benching

By Art Martone

FOXBORO -- Wes Welker's subtle digs at Jets coach Rex Ryan's foot fetish during his midweek press conference apparently didn't go unnoticed by Patriots coach Bill Belichick.

Welker sat out the Patriots' first offensive series, and CBS' Jim Nantz reported it was a benching because of his "foot" talk -- Welker made 10 references to feet or toes -- during his comments to the media.

After the game, Welker declined to talk about it.

"Thats a coachs decision," said Welker. "You can ask the coach about that stuff. Im not going to really comment on that stuff."

"I don't have any comment on that," said Belichick when asked.

Welker finished the game as the Pats' leading receiver with 7 catches for 57 yards.

Belichick met Ryan at midfield after the game and embraced him for several seconds, talking into his ear. When asked when he said, Belichick responded: "Whenever I have a conversation with somebody else, it's between me and the other person."

Ryan also declined to divulge what Belichick told him, except to say it was complimentary.

The Patriots have lost their last three postseason games, dating back to the 2007 Super Bowl, and have lost two in a row at home. It was their first-ever playoff loss to the Jets, whom they beat in the postseason in 1985 and 2006.

The Pats' last stretch of three straight postseason defeats came in a 10-season span from 1985 to '94, running from Super Bowl XX (loss to the Bears in the 1985 season) through first-round losses at Denver (1986) and Cleveland (1994).

They'd never lost two straight home playoff games prior to this.

Veteran running back Fred Taylor was inactive for Sunday's game, and admitted afterwards that he's mulling retirement.

"I've just got to probably take time to be realistic," said Taylor, who'll turn 35 later this month. "I kind of know what my body's telling me, and what my family's been telling me. But I also know that this is what I've been programmed to do the majority of my life."

Taylor had seven 1,000-plus-yard seasons in his 13-year career, the first 11 of which were spent with the Jaguars, but was limited by injuries to just 7 games and 155 yards this year.

"I really don't know," he said. "It's just a whole lot to take in right now. I don't know. I know what my body tells me. I know what I've been thinking. It's kind of hard to play a game you love so much with limitations. Last year, with the ankle. I couldn't do the things I know I can do. This year, with the toes."

Matt Light is now a free agent after 10 superlative seasons as the Patriots' left offensive tackle, and -- like Taylor -- doesn't know what the future holds. But in his case, it's contractual.

Light plans to play next year. He just doesn't know if it'll be in New England.

"I've had a great 10 years here, this has been a great organization . . . " said Light. "I hope like hell to be here and continue to do what I've done, but we'll have to wait and see if that works itself out."

Brady now has thrown a touchdown pass in 17 consecutive postseason games, the second-longest streak in NFL history (the longest: 20, by Brett Favre). He also has 30 career postseason TD passes, tying him with Terry Bradshaw for fifth place on the all-time list.

Jay Glazer of FOX Sports presented video evidence on the FOX pregame show of the Patriots engaging in sideline shenanigans aimed at upsetting opposing punt coverage -- the same thing for which the Jets were punished by the NFL -- during the Week 2 game between the Jets and Patriots. According to Mike Florio of, "Though they werent standing shoulder to shoulder and toe to toe like Sal Alosi and his North Jersey mob, six or seven Pats were up on the edge of the sideline, and one of them appears to try to trip the gunner." Glazer added that the Jets learned of the manuever from a former Patriots practice squad player who signed with the Jets. That could be either former Pats quarterback Kevin O'Connell or linebacker Shawn Crable. The Jets were fined 100,000 for Alosi's act and for special teams coach Mike Westhoff accusing the Patriots of similar deeds. "A number of teams do it," Westhoff said on Chicago radio in mid-December. "There is a pretty good team up north that lines their whole defense up when they do it, so it's something that just kind of happened . . . If you watch them -- their defense when the opponent's punt team is out there -- they're up there pretty close to the line so it looks like they are trying to do it. Now are they doing anything illegal? Are they tripping anybody? Heck no. I'm not saying that. That's not the point. But, yeah, they're lined up there. Is it making a difference? I don't know. I really don't know, because to tell you the truth, before this happened, I never really looked at anybody's sideline in all my years." It's not a huge leap of reason to presume the Jets were - in some way - involved in making sure the video (conclusive or not) saw the light of day.
Danny Picard and Tom E. Curran contributed to this story.Art Martone can be reached at

Patriots represented at Stanford, Utah, Missouri pro days


Patriots represented at Stanford, Utah, Missouri pro days

The Patriots had a busy day of gathering intel on Thursday. A very busy day. 

While Bill Belichick and Matt Patricia represented the Patriots at Ohio State and Notre Dame, respectively, the team had other representatives at high-profile pro days around the country including Stanford, Missouri and Utah. 

Here are a few of the players the Patriots were able to get a better look at . . . 

Stanford: The Patriots have shown plenty of interest in players coming from David Shaw's program in the past (Cameron Fleming, Jordan Richards), and they'll undoubtedly appreciate the talents brought to the table by two of the school's projected first-rounders in Solomon Thomas and Christian McCaffrey. Thomas is a powerful 6-foot-3, 273-pound defensive lineman who can play just about anywhere up front. McCaffrey, meanwhile, is one of the most athletic running backs in this year's class. He worked out as a receiver on Thursday and could fill a multitude of roles as a pro, whether it's as a back, a slot receiver or a kick-returner. The Patriots would need to trade back into the first round to have a prayer at landing either player. 

Utah: The Utes have a handful of draftable offensive linemen and one who is expected to come off the board in the first round. Garrett Bolles, who lit up the combine, might be the top tackle available -- and there are those who believe he's just starting to tap into his potential. Isaac Asiata is a monster guard (6-3, 323, 34-inch arms) who put up more bench-press reps than any other offensive lineman at this year's combine, and center JJ Dielman is an intriguing later-round option. One of the quickest risers in the pre-draft process? Marcus Williams, who is an eye-popping athlete. He was top-five for those at his position at the combine in the vertical, broad jump and three-cone drill, and he looks like a ready-made NFL free safety. The Patriots are pretty well stocked at that spot, but if they're picking at the bottom of the first round and going with the best player available, they may very well think that's Williams. 

Missouri: Defensive players were in focus for scouts and coaches at the Tigers pro day, and Charles Harris was the headliner. One of the most impressive players within a very deep class of edge defenders, the 6-3, 253-pounder appears to have the quickness and burst to give NFL tackles fits. One of Harris' teammates up front, Josh Augusta, ran a pretty ridiculous 40-yard dash Thursday, clocking in just a shade under five seconds. Ridiculous, why? Because he's a defensive tackle who wighed 390 pounds during the season. That's moving. Augusta dropped down to 347 after being diagnosed with a thyroid issue in January and is looking to get to 335. Corner Aarion Penton can competes well for the football, but his size (5-9, 177) may scare teams off until late in the draft. 

Curran: Patriots, Darrelle Revis have not discussed deal

Curran: Patriots, Darrelle Revis have not discussed deal

The Patriots and Darrelle Revis have not discussed a deal that would bring the cornerback back to New England, according to CSNNE's Tom Curran.

This comes after CBS Sports' Jason La Canfora reported multiple anonymous NFL executives were convinced Revis would return to the Patriots.

Revis spent one season with the Patriots in 2014 when New England won Super Bowl XLIX. However, the Patriots did not pick up Revis' second-year option in the following offseason, and he elected to sign with the New York Jets in free agency. He played 14 games in 2015 and 15 games in 2016. He finished last season with 53 tackles, five pass deflections and one interception

The 31-year-old cornerback declined significantly during the 2016 season. Even Tom Brady said he noticed Revis was struggling phyiscally in the Patriots' Week 12 win over the Jets.

"I know he's not feeling great," Brady said in November. "I could see after the game, he winced a few times getting up. It looked like his leg was bothering him a little bit. But he's still very close on a lot of those plays. Even though you're hitting them, he's still very competitive.

"He's been one of the great players in the league for a long time. He's given up more plays this year than in the past, but you've gotta have a lot of respect for his style and his game."