Welker: I still feel there's a lot of doubters

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Welker: I still feel there's a lot of doubters

By Mary Paoletti
CSNNE.com Staff Reporter Follow @mary_paoletti
It's hard to argue with numbers.

Or so they say. But it's not an expression Wes Welker is content to seek shade under.

I still feel like theres a lot of doubters that I cant do a lot of things on the field and that my value isnt as great as a lot of the other guys out there," he told CBSSports.com's Mark Morgan.

"Theres always something to prove and work on and get better at.

It's an interesting attitude for a wide receiver who's caught more than 100 passes in three of the last four seasons. Despite 86 catches and 848 yards last year, his averages in a Patriots uniform are impressive: 108 receptions, 1,134 yards and 5.5 touchdowns in 15.25 games.

Where Welker is confident, he's not content.

Im sure there are -- theres no doubt. ... Theyll always try to (argue the numbers).

So he trained. This offseason was the first since rehabbing his torn ACLMCL and Welker took advantage of his good health. Going into his fifth season with the Patriots he now says he's in the best shape of his life.

"I think just the amount of training I've been able to do. Not having to rehab and really just focusing in on this year and realizing that I need to be in the best shape possible. I think as you get older you get a little wiser in how to do that and what you need to do to accomplish that."

Welker's timing is good; this is his contract year. He'll make 2.5 million with the Patriots in 2011-12 before hitting free agency. When asked about his future, the wideout said he's focused on the year ahead, but confirmed a desire to stay put.

Of course I want to stay here. I love playing here," he said.

"I love the team type atmosphere that we have here in New England and I enjoy being around the guys and the type of work that everybody puts in collectively. It's what makes us go."

It's not surprising Tom Brady is high on Welker's list of Patriots 'Pros.' He credits some success to his quarterback, saying their relationship and on-field chemistry makes his job -- and racking up those numbers -- that much easier.

"He's the guy you want," Welker said of Brady. "He's definitely the dream quarterback in every way, shape and form for a receiver. We don't always see eye to eye... for the most part we do. We have a great relationship where we can talk about things. We'll get in something heated then we'll come to the side and say, 'Alright, what do we really think about this.'"

The duo will be on display Saturday in Detroit during New England's third preseason game, but Welker's eager to get back to regular season action. He gets the chance September 12 when the Patriots open against Miami -- the team that let him get away in 2007. That game -- every game -- presents an opportunity to prove he belongs in the elite class of NFL receivers.

And Welker is ready.

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

Ravens safety Weddle was interested in joining Patriots before landing in Baltimore

Ravens safety Weddle was interested in joining Patriots before landing in Baltimore

FOXBORO – Back in March, Eric Weddle batted his eyes longingly at the Patriots. The two-time All-Pro safety’s time was done with the Chargers and he wanted to spend his NFL autumn with a team that had a chance to win it all. 

He didn’t land in New England, but he didn’t too badly, winding up with the usually competitive Ravens.  

On a Thursday conference call with New England media, Weddle confirmed that there was mutual interest expressed. 

“Obviously, I was interested,” he acknowledged. “I have nothing but high regard, respect and admiration – and envy, quite honestly – of the success of the New England Patriots over the years. Obviously, battling them in my career, it’s always been a great game. I love the way they play, love the foundation, love everything about it. It was definitely on my radar. There were talks both ways, it just didn’t end up [working out].”

The numbers massed at the position with Patrick Chung, Devin McCourty and Duron Harmon played a role in the two sides not being able to reach accord, according to Weddle. 

“I’m good buddies with Patrick Chung,” he said. “I grew up playing with him and Devin [McCourty] is one of the best to play, so I don’t know if it would have worked out personnel-wise. But obviously, I could have seen myself fitting in there seamlessly.”

Weddle’s New England attraction apparently wasn’t love that bloomed late in his career. Toward the end of his conference call, Weddle said, “I’m still wondering why they just didn’t draft me in ’07; I could have been still playing there now.”

As reporters puzzled for a moment trying to recall the 2007 first-rounder, Weddle chipped in with the answer: “[They took] Brandon Meriweather.”

Raiders' loss to Chiefs puts Patriots in AFC driver's seat

Raiders' loss to Chiefs puts Patriots in AFC driver's seat

FOXBORO - The Patriots got a desired outcome Thursday night when the Chiefs handed the Raiders their third loss of the season. 

The 21-13 loss dropped Oakland and KC into a tie atop the AFC West at 10-3 but the Chiefs, by virtue of beating Oakland twice this season, have the divisional tiebreaker. Oakland went from the top seed in the AFC to the fifth spot.

More importantly around here, the Patriots now are in position to win out and claim the AFC’s No. 1 seed. 

Prior to the Raiders loss, Oakland would have been the top seed if both they and the Patriots won out.  Now, the 10-2 Patriots have a leg up on the rest of the conference. The Raiders’ road stays tough. They are at San Diego and Denver and host the Colts. 

The Chiefs have a more favorable close to the season with home games against Tennessee and Denver before their season finale at San Diego. 

The Patriots’ road over the final four is no picnic though, beginning with the Ravens and at Denver before the last two hosting the Jets and traveling to Miami.