No huddle: Brady on Welker, fullbacks & a fuzzy first game

No huddle: Brady on Welker, fullbacks & a fuzzy first game

By Mary Paoletti
CSNNE.com Staff Reporter Follow @mary_paoletti

FOXBORO -- Tom Brady's 1,327 passing yards in three games is an NFL record.

He should send a thank you note to Wes Welker.

Welker has long been one of Brady's favorite targets and this season is no exception. The receiver has 458 receiving yards and four touchdowns in Weeks 1 through 3. His performance against Buffalo was tremendous: 217 yards (a career and franchise record), 16 catches (a personal record and tie for the Patriots' best with Troy Brown) and two TDs.

"He's just a great player," Brady said Wednesday. "And he's been that way since the day he got here. He had a great game last week in an individual effort that made some incredible plays. And he always seems to do that. In Miami he did the same thing. He's done that in practice every day, every day in training camp -- he never missed a day. He's just a tough, hard-nosed football player."

Brady said Welker's entrance the league as an undrafted free agent drives him to do more, be better.

"You can never underestimate someone that's worked the way that he's had to work, because he hasn't had all the opportunities, that maybe a lot of other guys have had early in his career. And he realizes that and he still works as hard today as he's ever worked. I love being out there with him. He's a great teammate, he's an incredible player, receiver, leader on this team. Team's are always trying to find ways to take Wes away."

'Try' is the operative word. Arguably, the most impressive quality about Welker's game is his consistent ability to get open. This is his fifth season as a Patriot and a starter, but he's never been listed as active and gone catchless in a game.

Brady remains impressed

"Different guys create different separation different ways. Wes uses his quickness a lot of the time and you see he gets a lot of separation because he's so good getting in and out of his breaks.

"Taller guys, some don't get as good of horizontal separation because their vertical length and their catch radius...they could be open even if the DB is a lot closer. Wes doesn't have that so he's got to be open. He's got to get separation. And he does that. That's what his quickness really allows him to be able to do."

Brady had plenty more to say on non-Welker topics.

HEARD THE PATRIOTS WORKED OUT TWO FULLBACKS THIS WEEK. DO YOU MISS HAVING A TRADITIONAL FB ON THE ROSTER? "We have different guys that kind of play that similar role. There's not necessarily a fullback on the roster, but the things that some teams would ask a fullback to do, we ask of the different tight end variations that we have. Different guys do different things well, so in this situation we just...don't have a fullback."
HOW DO YOU FEEL ABOUT YOUR FIRST THREE GAMES WITH CHAD OCHOCINCO? "It's been three games for all of us together. In this offense: Chad, Wes, Deion... all of us in this receiverquarterback combination, we're trying to do better each week. We're trying to make improvements each week. We're not where we need to be, we're not where we're going to be.

"We're going to keep working hard at it and we're going to try to make some improvements. That's for myself, that's for every position on the team. As long as we show up and work hard every day and have confidence that we're going to get better, We're going to try to get better within the system of what coach's is asking us to do."

DOES COMING OFF THE LOSS TO BUFFALO GIVE YOU ADDED MOTIVATION FOR THE WEEK AHEAD? "I think we always prepare pretty hard. We aren't doing anything extra special this week. I think we, like every week, identify problems that were a problem, we see things that we did well, try to eliminate some of the problems and understand what it takes to win these games.

"When you look at the different opponent that you're facing, you have a different game plan, you go out there and you try to attack them in a different way and everybody's really got to get up to speed on what we're trying to do there. We're preparing pretty much like we always prepare."

THE 10-YEAR ANNIVERSARY OF YOUR FIRST NFL START IS COMING UP. HOW ABOUT THAT? "I don't even remember. That was a long time ago... God. Yeah, I don't even remember."

YOU WON BIG. "Yeah, we beat the Chargers...."

...IT WAS THE COLTS. "Was it the Colts? God, see?"

YOU OVERTHREW DAVID PATTEN ON YOUR FIRST THROW "I did?"

YES, YOU DID. "I got to watch that game again."

Mary Paoletti can be reached at mpaoletti@comcastsportsnet.com. Follow Mary on Twitter at http:twitter.comMary_Paoletti

Patriots-Steelers game notes: Pats shooting for record ninth Super Bowl berth

Patriots-Steelers game notes: Pats shooting for record ninth Super Bowl berth

A quick look at the information you need to know about tonight's Patriots-Steelers game:

PATRIOTS-STEELERS PREGAME

TEAM RECORDS: Patriots 15-2, Steelers 13- 5

GAME TIME: 6:40 p.m. EST

TV: CBS

TV ANNOUNCERS: Jim Nantz, Phil Simms and Tracy Wolfson

NATIONAL RADIO NETWORKS: Westwood One

NATIONAL RADIO ANNOUNCERS: Kevin Harlan, Dan Fouts and Ross Tucker

LOCAL RADIO NETWORK: Anchored by WBZ-FM (98.5 The Sports Hub)

LOCAL RADIO ANNOUNCERS: Bob Socci and Scott Zolak

ALL-TIME SERIES BETWEEN THE TEAMS: Steelers lead, 15-14

LAST MEETING: Patriots 27, Steelers 16 on Oct. 23, 2016 at Heinz Field

* * * *
QUICK FACTS
-- Bill Belichick is coaching in his NFL-record 11th conference championship game. Tom Brady is playing in his NFL-record 11th conference championship game.

-- The Patriots are 8-4 in AFC Championship Games, including 5-1 in games played in Foxboro and 4-1 at Gillette Stadium.

-- The Patriots are 30-19 in postseason games, including 19-4 at home (3-1 at Schaefer/Sullivan/Foxboro Stadium, 16-3 at Gillette).

-- The Patriots' 30 postseason victories are tied with the 49ers for fourth-most in NFL history, behind the Cowboys (34), Steelers (34) and Packers (32).

-- The Patriots' .612 winning percentage in postseason games is third-best in NFL history, behind the Ravens (15-8, .652) and Packers (34-21, .618).

* * * *
MILESTONES
-- If the Patriots win today they will qualify for their ninth Super Bowl, most in NFL history. They are currently tied with the Cowboys, Broncos and Steelers at eight.

-- If the Patriots win today, Robert Kraft will set an NFL record for most conference championships by an owner (8) in the Super Bowl era. He is currently tied with the Denver Broncos' Pat Bowler at seven.

-- If the Patriots win today, Bill Belichick will move into a tie with Bill Walsh for third place on the NFL list of best postseason coaching winning percentage. Belichick (who would be 25-10 with a victory) and Walsh (10-4) would have .714 winning percentage. Belichick is currently in fifth place, two percentage points behind Joe Gibbs (17-7, .708). Vince Lombardi (9-1, .900) is in first place and Tom Flores (8-3. .727) is second.

-- If the Patriots win today, Belichick will advance to his seventh Super Bowl as a head coach, which would be most in NFL history. He is currently tied with Don Shula at six.

-- Tom Brady (8) needs one more playoff game with three or more touchdown passes to tie Joe Montana (9) for most three-plus TD playoff games since the 1970 NFL merger.

-- Stephen Gostkowski (142) needs 11 points to tie Gary Anderson for third place on the NFL's all-time list of kicking points in the postseason. Adam Vinatieri (234) is first and David Akers (175) is second.

-- Julian Edelman (76) needs nine receptions to tie Andre Reed (85) for sixth place on the NFL's all-time list of postseason receptions. Michael Irvin is fifth at 88, and Hines Ward and Wes Welker are tied for third at 88.

* * * *
TONIGHT'S OFFICIALS
-- REFEREE: Terry McAulay. UMPIRE: Rich Hall. HEAD LINESMAN: Wayne Mackie. LINE JUDGE: Mark Perlman. FIELD JUDGE: Scott Edwards. SIDE JUDGE: Boris Cheek. BACK JUDGE: Tony Steratore. ALTERNATES: John Parry, Mark Steinkerchner, Rich Martinez. REPLAY OFFICIAL: Mike Wimmer. SUPERVISOR: Gary Slaughter.

Brady goes back to high school for pregame social media post

Brady goes back to high school for pregame social media post

Tom Brady's pregame Facebook and Instagram post Sunday shows him wearing a different No. 12 uniform, that of Serra High School in San Mateo, Calif.

PATRIOTS-STEELERS PREGAME

The Patriots quarterback, looking for his seventh Super Bowl trip Sunday night when he faces the Pittsburgh Steelers at Gillette Stadium in his and his team's sixth consecutive AFC Championship Game, posted the old photo and message on both his Facebook and newly opened Instagram accounts.

My family, my friends, my teammates, my coaches, Pats nation, my schools, our fans... I'm playing for you today. LET'S GO

Posted by Tom Brady on Sunday, January 22, 2017