Welker excited for Patriots' receiver competition


Welker excited for Patriots' receiver competition

Patriots receiver drills figure to be pretty crowded this summer. With Wes Welker, Brandon Lloyd, Jabar Gaffney, Deion Branch, Donte' Stallworth, Chad Ochocinco, Julian Edelman and Anthony Gonzalez as the biggest names in the group, it should be one of the deepest receiving corps in the NFL.

Welker joined WEEI this afternoon and explained how New England's cupboard full of receivers reminds him of the Patriots' record-setting 2007 season.

"I think it's great. It's competition," Welker said. "It's no different from Coach Belichick's philosophy in the past, and that's to sign guys to help the football team win games. Whatever is best for the team, he's going to do. I think there are guys that can really help and contribute for us.

"When you look at the '07 season, we had people like Kelley Washington. Donte' Stallworth. Jabar Gaffney. We had Reche Caldwell going into that year. Randy Moss. We were stacked with some pretty good receivers going into that year, and I feel like it's the same type of deal, stacking up, and finding out who can really contribute and who can really help us this coming year."

If this receiving group can perform anything like the one from New England's undefeated regular season five years ago, the Patriots will be a happy bunch. Tom Brady threw for a record 50 touchdown passes that season, while Randy Moss caught a record 23 of those scores. Welker had 112 receptions, while Stallworth and Gaffney finished with 46 and 36 catches, respectively.

Something the Patriots didn't have in 2007? A dynamic set of game-changing tight ends. Rob Gronkowski and Aaron Hernandez figure to be major components in the Patriots offensive schemes again, meaning accomplished receivers like Gaffney, Branch, Stallworth and Ochocinco could be competing to be Brady's fourth or fifth option in the passing game.

Cyrus Jones: 'I'll never take credit for something I don't feel I contributed to'

Cyrus Jones: 'I'll never take credit for something I don't feel I contributed to'

It was a tough rookie season for Cyrus Jones after being selected by the New England Patriots in the second round of the the 2016 NFL Draft.

Despite struggling in the return game all season and being inactive for the playoffs, Jones will forever the labeled as a "Super Bowl Champion" after his team's victory over the Atlanta Falcons in Super Bowl LI.

But you won't hear Jones bragging about the victory.

"I'll never take credit for something I don't feel I contributed to," Jones told Childs Walker of the The Baltimore Sun. "I was part of the team, but I didn't feel a part of it."

The 23-year-old rookie played in 10 games for the Patriots, seeing 147 snaps on defense. But his struggles in the return game were a talking point for most of the season after he came in with such high expectations as a returner out of Alabama. 

"Honestly, it was hell for me," he explained. "That's the only way I can describe it. I didn't feel I deserved to be part of anything that was happening with the team. I felt embarrassed that these people probably thought they wasted a pick on me."

Jones has already turned the page on his rookie season saying, there's "no such thing as an offseason" because he "didn't earn it."

Robert Kraft profiled on this week's 'Real Sports' on HBO

Robert Kraft profiled on this week's 'Real Sports' on HBO

Robert Kraft is a bit taken aback when he walks into a room at Gillette Stadium and sees the Patriots' five Lombardi trophies lined up.

"Wow. That's the first time I've seen five trophies there," he tells Andrea Kremer on HBO's "Real Sports" in a interview that will air as part of this week's episode Tuesday at 10 p.m.

"A lot of people have their big dreams and get knocked down and don't have things go their way," Kraft says, "And you never give up hope and you really just hold on to it. Hard work and perserverance. You just keep getting up and getting up and then you get that breakthrough. I think that's what happened in overtime down in Houston. And that's lessons in life that are good for anyone." 

Here's an excerpt: