Welker ready if Jets send Revis his way

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Welker ready if Jets send Revis his way

By Phil Perry
CSNNE.com

FOXBORO -- Wes Welker isn't sure what the Jets will do to stop him, but if they choose to try to strand him on Revis Island, he'll be ready for it.

Jets cornerback Darrelle Revis has been a shutdown corner once again this season, allowing just three completions on passes thrown his way in the Jets' first four games. He's proven to be a menace to big-play threats, but he's done a good job of stopping slot receivers -- like Welker -- in the past as well.

"He brings a lot of challenges," Welker said Friday. "He's a great cornerback. Been around for a long time. He's very patient and he's physical, a smart player. He's definitely going to present some problems for us."

Welker said that the Patriots have film of about 600 snaps between this season and last season where Revis covered a slot receiver.

"It's not anything different from what they do," Welker said. "We'll see how it plays out and see how the game goes. You gotta be ready for everything, no matter what they bring."

Count Deion Branch among those who would rather see Revis lined up across from someone, anyone, but himself.

"I'd be glad if he's on anybody except me," Branch said with a laugh. "That'd be good. I think overall coach Rex Ryan is gonna do a great job of scheming certain things, when he does, we gotta adjust. There's a lot of different things we will see, I do know that. Every play could be different."

The Jets have a habit of taking away an offense's best weapon, and for the Patriots, that's been Welker. In four games this season he has 40 catches for 615 yards and five touchdowns. Last season, the Jets blanketed Welker with bracket coverage and the Patriots struggled in their 28-21 playoff loss. This year it could be the same plan, or the Jets could sick Revis on him.

"Teams have different ways of trying to take certain players away," Bill Belichick said. "Whether it's double coverage, or jamming him, or zone, whatever it is. I think Wes has had a good year. He's certainly ahead of where he was physically at the beginning of last season (when he was nine months removed from knee surgery)."

And though he's physically fine now, with all the work he's received through the season's first month, he's taken a beating. Welker has withstood it to this point, and he joked that his good health might be partly due to his new sleep schedule.

"I moved down here closer to the stadium, so I actually cut out about an hour out of my day where I've been able to rest a little more," Welker said. "Maybe those hours are kind of adding up to more rest for myself."

Belichick said he thinks his best receiver's production has come as a result of coverages, not necessarily because of any lifestyle changes Welker has made.

"I don't think he's running routes differently or eating more broccoli or anything like that," Belichick said. "Sometimes it just kind of happens."

The Patriots wouldn't mind if it could just kind of happen against the Jets, but if Revis has his say, they may need to find another go-to guy.

Follow Phil on Twitter at @PhilAPerry.

Wednesday's Pats-Bills practice report: Jimmy G., Brissett both 'limited'

Wednesday's Pats-Bills practice report: Jimmy G., Brissett both 'limited'

FOXBORO -- The highly-anticipated first Patriots injury report of the week was released on Wednesday afternoon, and it was fairly predictable. 

Both injured quarterbacks were active but limited in their practice participation, the report indicated. That comes as little surprise as both Jimmy Garoppolo (shoulder) and Jacoby Brissett (thumb) were spotted throwing passes early in Wednesday's practice. Neither appeared to be experiencing any significant discomfort as they made their warm-up throws. 

Patriots linebacker Dont'a Hightower (knee) and tight end Rob Gronkowski (hamstring) were also limited. Gronkowski admitted that the team was taking it slow with him in his first game back on the field last week -- he played just 14 snaps in New England's win over Houston -- but he said on Wednesday that he hoped to go "freakin' crazy" on the field soon.

NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS

LIMITED PARTICIPATION
QB Jacoby Brissett (right thumb)
OT Marcus Cannon (calf)
G Jonathan Cooper (foot)
LB Jonathan Freeny (shoulder)
QB Jimmy Garoppolo (shoulder)
TE Rob Gronkowski (hamstring)
LB Dont'a Hightower (knee)
CB Eric Rowe (ankle)

BUFFALO BILLS

DID NOT PARTICIPATE
TE Charles Clay (knee)
OL Cyrus Kouandjio (ankle)
OL Patrick Lewis (knee)
WR Sammy Watkins (foot)

LIMITED PARTICIPATION
DB Colt Anderson (foot)
DB Ronald Darby (hamstring)
QB Cardale Jones (right shoulder)
DB Jonathan Meeks (foot)
WR Greg Salas (groin)
DB Aaron Williams (ankle)
OL Cordy Glenn (ankle)

Garoppolo: Not pressured by Patriots to return last Thursday

Garoppolo: Not pressured by Patriots to return last Thursday

FOXBORO -- Jimmy Garoppolo spoke Wednesday for the first time since getting his shoulder separated by the Dolphins’ Kiko Alonso. Standing by his locker, Garoppolo was predictably vague about the status of his arm, unless you consider, “Getting better day by day,” as being insightful. 

The only two responses offered that were worth a damn came when asked if he could have done anything different when he got squished by Alonso while retreating and buying time.  

“Just have to be smart I guess,” said Garoppolo. “I mean, it’s football and stuff’s gonna happen like that, but have to be smart in those situations.”

Asked if he regretted holding the ball as long as he did on a third-down play with the Patriots up 21-0, Garoppolo replied, “After it’s all said and done it’s easy to say that, but it’s one of those things, you’re in the heat of the game. But bottom line I have to be smarter than that.”

Agreed.  

Meanwhile, as he worked last week to get back for Thursday night’s game against Houston, The Boston Herald reported that the Patriots were “putting pressure” on Garoppolo to be ready for the game. Working hard to get key players ready for upcoming games is standard operating procedure for a medical staff. Trying to force a player to perform is not. 

I asked Garoppolo if he felt unduly pressured. He replied, “No.”