Patriots notes: Welker would like to hear more from fans, too

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Patriots notes: Welker would like to hear more from fans, too

By Rich Levine
CSNNE.com

FOXBORO Wes Welker wasn't quite as adamant as Tom Brady in expressing his disappointed with fans leaving early during Sunday's win over Cincinnati. Perhaps some of that has to do with the fact that Welker wasn't here to experience the true glory years at Gillette, and doesn't really have anything to compare it to. But either way, Welker did hint that he's like to see a little more from the New England faithful when the team returns home Sept. 26.

"I think I would like to see our crowd get into it a little more, and really become almost like that 12th man," he said. "But at the same time we're gonna go out there and give them something to cheer for."

Julian Edelman might only be in his second season with the Pats, but he's wasted no time becoming well-versed in the Patriot Way. Speaking with reporters in the middle of the locker room, Edelman was asked to expand his recovery from an injured ankle. The response?

"I don't even think I'm allowed to talk about injuries. I don't want to get in trouble."

There are only so many words to describe the ridiculous trash-talking nature of the New York Jets. Fred Taylor, for one, has run out of, or just isn't bothered enough to think of any, ways to explain their loud-mouthed mentality.

"Anytime you have an opportunity to compete, you want to do your best, he said. "It's a little bit added incentive when there's a team, that . . . you know what the Jets are. I just don't know how to describe it. You pay attention to it and you remain humble and just play on the field."

I caught one funny interaction between Randy Moss and Tom Brady as the two sat side-by-side at their lockers. Moss was explaining that, being from West Virginia, he didn't grow up really rooting for an NFL team of his own. He said that they used to get Redskins and Steelers games on TV, but that he never really developed an allegiance. "How weird would it be if I was in this league and was a fan of like . . . the Cleveland Browns?" he asked. Before looking over at Brady and jokingly saying: "Unlike this endearing expletive and his Niners . . . "

"That's right," Brady said. "San Fran!"

Rich Levine's column runs each Monday, Wednesday and Friday on CSNNE.com. Rich can be reached at rlevine@comcastsportsnet.com. Follow Rich on Twitter at http:twitter.comrlevine33

Patriots named Super Bowl LI favorites despite Brady suspension

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Patriots named Super Bowl LI favorites despite Brady suspension

Is the Patriots roster so loaded that Tom Brady can be suspended for four games, and they're still the favorites to win it all? 

Apparently so, according to odds released by the Westgate Las Vegas SuperBook.

Not long after the completion of this year's draft, the Patriots were favored at 6-1 to win their fifth Lombardi Trophy even though their quarterback is scheduled to miss the first month of the season after his Deflategate punishment was recently reinstated by the Second Circuit Court of Appeals. Brady plans to appeal that ruling. 

Next on the list of favorites are the Seahawks, Steelers and Packers, all of whom are tied at 8-1. The Panthers, who fell in Super Bowl 50 to the Broncos, have 9-1 odds to redeem themselves after last season's defeat and walk away winners. 

The Patriots are, of course, favored to win the AFC (3-1) and the AFC East (4-9), and their season win total projection has been set at 10.5.

Felger: Is the praise for Jacoby Brissett too good to be true?

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Felger: Is the praise for Jacoby Brissett too good to be true?

Three mid-week thoughts for your perusal . . . 

-- I was 100 percent behind the drafting of quarterback Jacoby Brissett. And then I read comments about the kid from Charlie Weis and Bill Parcells in Karen Guregian's excellent story in the Boston Herald on Tuesday.

Now I'm down to about 80 percent.

"He's a Curtis Martin-, Willie McGinest-, Troy Brown-type of player,'' said Parcells. "That's the kind of guy he is. That's what New England is getting. Those kind, those Tedy Bruschi types, those players who've been successful -- he's very similar in his personal life to those kinds of guys.''

"Let me tell you,'' added Weis, "this kid, from the time he was in high school, is the Pied Piper . . . He was definitely the leader of the pack. In the quarterback position, I think that's a critical factor. And that's what he was.''

Added Parcells: "He has zero personal issues.''

So why would glowing reports cause me to like the pick less? File under: Too good to be true.

I read those quotes and get the feeling I'm being sold something, which shakes my confidence a bit. Plus, it's a little too much on the intangible element. Character is certainly important at the position. In fact, it's crucial. But if intangibles were the only thing that mattered, Tim Tebow would have been an NFL QB. And we all know how that turned out.

Bottom line: I still like the pick. I still want the Pats drafting and developing quarterbacks. I just smell a bit of bull crap.

-- Chris Mannix nailed it regarding what it would take for the Celtics to lure Kevin Durant to Boston.

"Boston's ability to lure him is going to come down to who else they can get. You can't walk into a meeting with Kevin Durant and say, 'We've got Isiah Thomas and 97 draft picks; we're going to be good in a few years','' he told Toucher and Rich Tuesday morning. "Kevin doesn't want to hear that . . . What he wants to hear is that we're ready to win now . . . They have to come to the table with a Jimmy Butler, with a Bradley Beal, with an Al Horford. They can't just come with Brad Stevens, Danny Ainge and a bunch of draft picks.''

In other words, the pieces on the current roster aren't nearly as good as they looked in the regular season. And, no, Thomas is not a franchise player. And, finally, don't get too attached to those picks, no matter where the ping pong balls land.

-- I wonder if the Bruins look at the current landscape in net across the NHL playoffs and consider how wise it is to pay their goalie, Tuukka Rask, $7 million a year.

Still alive are guys like the Islanders' Thomas Greiss ($1.5 million cap hit), the Blues' Brian Ellliott ($2.5 million), the Sharks' Martin Jones ($3 million) and Penguins rookie Matt Murray ($620,000). Out are 8 of the top 10 highest-paid goalies in the league, a list including Henri Lundqvist, Carey Price, Cory Schneider, Ryan Miller and, of course, Rask.

Please note: No one is saying you can get away with shoddy goaltending in the playoffs. It's an unassailable fact that you need elite play in net to contend for Stanley Cups. The question is what you have to pay for it. 

And in that regard, this year is no aberration. Sometimes you have to pay through the nose for it, and sometimes it just falls in your lap.

Can the Bruins get away with trying to survive in that second camp? Good question. This much I know: Paying Rask $7 million a year to miss the playoffs two straight years isn't doing anyone any good.

Email Felger at mfelger@comcastsportsnet.com. Listen to Felger and Mazz weekdays, 2-6 p.m. on 98.5 FM. The simulcast runs daily on CSN.