Why wasn't Welker targeted more in first game

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Why wasn't Welker targeted more in first game

Wes Welker puts food on the table by making receptions. He's done it for a while and is one of the best in the NFL at it. But on Sunday, he didn't get many opportunities.

Welker was targeted just five times against the Titans. Is there any reason to make a big deal out of this? Probably not . . . but it's worth noting anyways.

Perhaps it was just a case of the other players being more open. Or . . . the Patriots are sticking it to Welker for not agreeing to that franchise tag sooner! Kidding.

Tom E. Curran and Ron Borges talk about Welker's day.

Wistful Brady admires athletic skills of Texans' Deshaun Watson

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Wistful Brady admires athletic skills of Texans' Deshaun Watson

WHITE SULPHUR SPRINGS, West Virginia -- Tom Brady got caught day-dreaming during a portion of his press conference Wednesday at The Greenbrier. Following the second joint practice between the Patriots and Texans, he was asked what he thought of Deshaun Watson's game.

The rookie flashed his athleticism while splitting starter reps with Tom Savage over the two-day stretch of practices with New England, and Brady took notice.

"If I could run a 4.7 [forty-yard dash], man, I would have been the first overall pick," Brady said. "Unfortunately, I ran a 5.2. I wouldn’t have been the first overall pick -- I change that. I probably would’ve been a fourth-rounder.

"I wish I could make some of those plays. Look, every player has strengths and weakness and you learn to play to your strengths, and you learn to develop your weaknesses. I’m still working on those things in my 18th year. I wish I was born 6-foot-5, 240, could run a 4.5, jump 40 inches, bench 415, but you can't. You play to your strengths and I think with our team I’ve been able to learn and think my way through the game.

"I tell the guys all the time -- 'Nothing good happens when I've got the ball in my hands.' So the faster I can get it out of my hands, the better it is, which means we've got to have a lot of trust.

"I think there are a lot of other players in the league like Russell [Wilson] or Aaron [Rodgers] that prove that when the ball is in their hands a lot of great things happen -- Ben Roethlisberger. It's about improving the things that maybe you’re not so good at, which I’m going to keep trying to do and keep building on the things you are good at."

Brady went 13-for-18 against the Texans defense in 11-on-11 work Wednesday, looking much more in sync with his teammates than he did the previous day when Houston's defensive line won the day.

Watson was not quite as accurate, going 9-for-16, though he had two passes dropped. And one of his completions was one of the better completions of the day for either side when he dropped a pass in to Jaelen Strong in the back corner of the end zone during 7-on-7 work.

He may not be a finished product, but Brady liked what he saw. The two had a chance to meet and chat during their shared time in West Virginia, and Watson seemed to make a good impression.

"Watching him play, he's got a great future. He's got all the ability. It was great to meet him," Brady said. "I've watched him have so many great games. Pro football players watch a lot of college players because on Saturday nights we're at the hotel, and Clemson was on a lot. Obviously, they won a lot of big games so it was great to meet him."

Postcard from Camp Day 15: Rivers leaves practice with apparent leg injury

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Postcard from Camp Day 15: Rivers leaves practice with apparent leg injury

WHITE SULPHUR SPRINGS, West Virginia -- The Patriots and Texans finished up a physical practice at the Greenbrier on Wednesday afternoon, their final joint session before Saturday's preseason game in Houston. 

The Patriots took another hit at the defensive end position as Derek Rivers left the practice a little over an hour into the practice following a kick coverage drill. Patriots trainer Jim Whalen appeared to be checking on Rivers' left knee. Rivers got off the turf and walked into the Greenbrier Sports Performance Center with team staffers. He did not return. 

Here are some of the other news and notes we picked up from Wednesday's workout . . . 

ATTENDANCE

* LaAdrian Waddle and LeShun Daniels, both of whom failed to finish Tuesday's practice, joined the list of Patriots absentees from Tuesday: Nate Solder, Tony Garcia, Matthew Slater, Brandon King, Keionta Davis, Deatrich Wise, Dont'a Hightower (PUP), Andrew Jelks (NFI), Shea McClellin, Matt Lengel and Mike Gillislee. 

 

NOTEWORTHY MOMENTS

* About 15 minutes after Rivers' injury, Kony Ealy was rolling around on the ground, reaching for his shoulder. He returned at 11:50 and had a handful of effective pass-rush snaps during a hurry-up period coming off the right edge. He said after practice he feels as though he's heading in the right direction and building some positive momentum. 

* With LaAdrian Waddle out -- joining Nate Solder and Tony Garcia as injured left-tackle options -- Cameron Fleming took all of the reps with the top group on Tom Brady's blind side. Fleming was beaten by Whitney Mercilus for a pair of sacks in team drills and he lost to Mercilus in their lone 1-on-1 rep against one another. At one point, the Patriots placed Dion Lewis just off of Fleming's hip to chip Mercilus, and Mercilus ran over Lewis. Fleming did get the better of Mercilus at the end of practice, putting Mercilus on the ground and helping to give Brady enough time to find James White for a touchdown to finish off a hurry-up period.

* The Patriots came onto the field with a defense that seemed to be a healthy mix of regulars and reserves. Jordan Richards and Duron Harmon were the safeties. Derek Rivers was at one end with Harvey Langi on the other. Malcolm Butler and Stephon Gilmore were at the corner spots. On the next series, Patrick Chung came onto the field as did Devin McCourty. Trevor Bates and Jonathan Freeny handled the edges while David Harris manned the middle. 

* Dion Lewis, Danny Amendola and Cyrus Jones were the returners during what was a significantly more physical set of special-teams periods.

* After sitting out most of Tuesday's practice, Stephon Gilmore was out there in 11-on-11 work. Eric Rowe saw time in the slot with Malcolm Butler and Gilmore on the outside and handled himself well.

* James O'Shaughnessy made what was perhaps the play of the day, plucking a Tom Brady pass off of the helmet of Bernardrick McKinney. Patriots offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels was as excited by that play as he's been all camp. O'Shaughnessy has missed significant practice time due to injury but was a full participant on Tuesday, seeing passes in fully-padded 11-on-11 work for the first time in a long time. He caught all four balls (three from Garoppolo) thrown his way. 

* Harris had some difficulty keeping up with Texans backs in coverage, allowing Texans quarterbacks to complete all five passes that were sent in his direction. 

* After a quiet practice on Tuesday, Brandin Cooks caught five of eight passes from Brady, including a long touchdown on a post route with Texans corner Kevin Johnson in coverage. Cooks did have one drop. 

 

1-ON-1 NOTES

Cannon beat Watt

Mercilus beat Fleming

Thuney beat Dunn

McDermott beat Scarlett

Hatley beat Karras

Ferentz beat Ankou

Pratt beat Cannon on speed to power

Andrews beat Hatley

Ankou beat King

Fleming got the edge on Lee

McDermott got the best of Tony Washington

Mercilus breezed past Croston

 

11-ON-11 NOTES

TEXANS OFFENSE

* Rivers sacks Savage. Patriots sideline into it. 

* Miller run. 

* Miller run. 

* Savage incomplete to Ellington. Gilmore in coverage. PI on Gilmore. 

 

* Watson complete to Stephen Anderson. 

* Foreman run. 

* Watson run. Ealy pressured him out of the pocket. 

* Foreman run. Ealy blown out of the play. 

 

* Savage complete to Blue with Harris in coverage. 

 

PATRIOTS OFFENSE

* Burkhead run. 

* Burkhead run. 

* Brady complete to Edelman. 

* Lewis run. 

* Brady sacked by Mercilus working on Fleming. 

* Brady complete to Hogan. Mercilus hammers Lewis, who was chipping to help Fleming. 

 

* Bolden run. 

* Garoppolo complete to O'Shaughnessy. 

* Bolden run. 

 

TEXANS OFFENSE

* Savage complete to Prosch. 

* Miller run. Edge set by Van Noy. 

* Savage incomplete to Ellington with Rowe in coverage. Ellington drop.

* Punt. Cyrus Jones returns. Double-caught it. 

 

* Savage hands to Miller. 

* Savage would have been sacked by Harris. Brown blows up screen.

 

* Watson incomplete to Blue over the middle. 

* Foreman run. Stuffed by Branch. 

* Watson complete to Griffin with Ebner in coverage. Ball bobbled.

* Watson incomplete over the middle. Ealy hurt.

 

PATRIOTS OFFENSE

* Brady complete to Cooks.

* Brady incomplete to Cooks. Cooks drop. 

* Brady complete to Cooks on the sideline. Perfect throw and catch.

* Punt.  

 

* Lewis run.

* Brady complete to Hogan. 

* Brady complete to White on screen. 

 

* Lewis run. 

* Garoppolo complete to Lewis. 

* Garoppolo complete to Gronkowski. 

* Allen shanks a punt. 

 

TEXANS OFFENSE

* Adam Butler sack. 

* Miller run. 

* Savage complete to Ellington. Rowe gets to him before any gain. 

* Punt.

 

* Savage incmoplete over the middle. Bates there in coverage. Well played.

* Savage complete to Anderson with Richards in coverage. 

 

* Watson complete to Strong over the middle. Van Noy flushes him from pocket.

* Punt. 

* Watson sacked by Bates. 

* Watson complete to Anderson. 

* Watson incomplete to Allen. Allen drop. Well-placed pass. 

 

PATRIOTS OFFENSE

* Brady complete to O'Shaughnessy. 

* Bolden run. 

* Brady complete to Edelman. 

* Punt. 

 

* Brady sacked by Mercilus, who was working on Fleming. 

* Bolden run. 

* Brady incomplete for Amendola. Cunningham PBU. 

 

* Garoppolo complete to Allen on roll-out. 

* Bolden run. 

* Garoppolo incomplete to Mitchell. PBU Moore. Nearly picked. 

* Punt.

 

TEXANS OFFENSE 

* Miller run. Ealy's back. 

* Blue run. Guy there to make the stop. 

* Blue run. 

* Savage complete to Foreman. Roberts in coverage, looked like he missed an assignment. 

* Roberts strips Ervin, Rowe recovers for score.

 

* Watson incomplete. Langi pressure. 

* Watson complete to Griffin. Harmon there in coverage, but was boxed out.

* Foreman run. Patriots emphasizing strips all practice. Got him on a late one.

* Watson complete to Ervin with Harris in coverage. Eludes Butler pressure.

 

PATRIOTS OFFENSE

* Brady complete to Cooks on post for a touchdown. Beat Kevin Johnson.

* Burkhead run. 

* Brady incomplete to Gronkowski. Gilchrist PBU. Brady grabs his helmet in shame.

* Brady complete to Burkhead. 

* Burkhead run. 

* Mercilus offsides.

* White run. 

 

* Burkhead run. 

* Garoppolo incomplete to Carr. 

* Garoppolo sacked by Kamalu. Pass incomplete to Carr. 

 

TEXANS OFFENSE (HURRY)

* Savage complete to Griffin with Chung in coverage. 

* Savage complete to Miller with Harris in coverage. 

* Savage incomplete for Griffin with Chung in coverage. 

* Savage complete to Miller with Harris in coverage.

* Savage incomplete to Griffin with McCourty in coverage. 

* Savage complete to Strong for a touchdown with Butler in coverage. Butler stumbled as the pass approached. 

 

PATRIOTS OFFENSE (HURRY)

* Brady incomplete for Edelman. 

* Brady complete to Hogan on a post for a touchdown. Cunningham beat in coverage. Watt got a lot of attention. Cannon, Mason, Andrews all got a shot in. 

* Brady complete to Cooks. 

* Brady incomplete out of the back of the end zone. 

* Brady complete to White for a touchdown. Fleming put Mercilus on the ground. After the play Edelman got mixed up with Gilchrist and Hal. Lots of chatter.

 

TEXANS OFFENSE 

* Watson complete to Hardee. 

* Watson incomplete to McCarron. Perfect pass. Jonathan Jones PBU. 

* Watson sacked by Ealy off the right side. 

* Watson incomplete to Williams. Ealy pressure. 

* Watson incomplete on Hail Mary. Coleman PBU. Ealy good effort. 

 

PATRIOTS OFFENSE

* Garoppolo complete to Carr. 

* Garoppolo incomplete to Carr. Overthrown. 

* Garoppolo incomplete to Amendola. Amendola drop. 

* Garoppolo incomplete to Mitchell. 

* Garoppolo incomplete to Carr. Overthrown. 

 

* Brissett finished his run at the end of practice 3-for-7. 

 

7-ON-7 (RED ZONE)

TEXANS OFFENSE

* Savage complete to Ervin with Rowe in coverage.

* Savage incomplete to Anderson. Butler PBU. 

* Savage complete to Ervin with Harris in coverage. 

 

* Watson complete to Griffin with Ebner in coverage.

* Watson complete to Jaelen Strong in the back corner of the end zone on Cyrus Jones. Perfectly-thrown pass. 

* Coverage sack. Play blown dead.

 

* Weeden complete to Anderson. 

* Weeden tuck and run. 

* Weeden complete to Anderson with J. Jones in coverage. 

 

PATRIOTS OFFENSE

* Brady incomplete to Cooks out of the end zone. Overthrown. 

* Brady incomplete to Cooks. Joseph PBU. 

* Brady incomplete to Edelman. Edelman drop. 

* Brady complete to Cooks over the middle. 

* Brady incomplete to Burkhead. Pass broken up. 

 

* Garoppolo complete to O'Shaughnessy. 

* Garoppolo incomplete to Mitchell. Roberson PBU. 

* Garoppolo complete to O'Shaughnessy.