FOXBORO -- It doesn't matter to Wes Welker that the Giants secondary says it believes it can "handle" him. It doesn't matter that they said the Steelers kicked the Patriots' butts -- and basically shut Welker down -- without doing anything "spectacular."
For Welker, eight years in the league (five with the Patriots) have conditioned him not to get riled up at verbal bombs fired from opposing locker rooms.
"Really, I could care less," Welker said in response to the Giants comments on Thursday. "I'm focused on winning the game. At this point, you hear it all. You just don't worry about it. You move on and get ready for the game."
Yesterday, Giants cornerback Antrel Rolle called Welker a "monster elite receiver," but proceeded to explain, with confidence, how he and his teammates would shut down the monster.
"I handle anything," Rolle said. "Im up for all challenges. At the end of the day, its may the best man win."
Rolle also said he doesn't "plan on having to answer those questions" that defensive backs usually hear after Welker has gashed them on Sundays.
"I'm really not too worried about it," Welker responded. "I'm just trying to study them up on film and get ready for them and do everything possible to win on Sunday. That's where my focus is."
Though Rolle's comments may seem a bit crazy -- Welker is the leading receiver (57 catches, 824 yards, 6 touchdowns) on the second-best passing offense in the league (324.7 yards per game) -- but teams have been figuring out ways to slow down Brady's favorite target, and it's clear the Giants think they can do the same.
In his last two games, Welker has averaged 6.0 catches for 42.0 yards. Not bad, but well off of the pace he was on to start the season as he averaged 148.0 yards per game through five games.
Welker said he has seen more man coverage in the last two weeks than he had previously, and he intimated that teams had become more physical with him at the line of scrimmage.
"Guys getting in your face, grabbing, doing whatever they need to do," said Welker of how he's been defended lately. "You have to understand that and do business as business is being done, be physical and get open. That's what it comes down to."
The Steelers were physical with him after the catch, too. Troy Polamalu almost turned Welker into a bobblehead as he twisted Welker's noggin to an unnatural degree during a tackle last Sunday. Predictably, Welker was limited in practice this week with a neck injury.
"Any time you're playing a game in the National Football League, you're gonna have your bumps and bruises," Welker said. "Some things take longer, some things take less. You just gotta kind of monitor it and move on."
The Patriots hope Welker can move on production-wise against the Giants. If he can avoid getting beat up, there's a chance he could make the Giants secondary look as crazy as it sounded earlier in the week.