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."