Welker regrets 'foot' comments about Ryan

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Welker regrets 'foot' comments about Ryan

Patriots wide receiver Wes Welker told the Boston Herald's Karen Guregian that he regrets poking fun at Jets coach Rex Ryan in his midweek press conference prior to the New England-New York playoff game, saying, "As much you might want to get enticed into that stuff, at the end of the day, its just not worth it."

Welker was benched by coach Bill Belichick for the first series of the game, reportedly because of the comments. (Welker made 10 references to feet or toes in speaking to reporters, oblique mentions of Ryan's foot fetish, in response to the Jets' relentless, sometimes-obscene trash talking of the Pats in the runup to the game.) Neither Belichick nor Welker would discuss the benching after the game.

But Welker, when asked if he regretted it, said, "Yeah, sure I do."

He added: "Im not going to get into any details about it, but I dont think its worth putting Belichick in that situation . . .

"You know what, I think the best way to stick up for your teammate is on the field. I like the fact we dont get caught up in all that stuff. At the end of the day, its about football. Thats what its supposed to be about. Thats all that matters. Its concentrating on your job and what you do, and not concentrating on the riff-raff that goes with all that other stuff. Its about the team and going out there and playing good football. And not getting caught up in all the media hype. Its just not worth it.

"Its not always easy to keep a lid on it, but at the same time, theres a greater goal, and thats winning the game and playing good football. Thats what matters. All that other stuff doesnt matter at the end of the day."

But when asked if he was happy the Jets were beaten by the Steelers in the AFC Championship Game and failed to make the Super Bowl, Welker -- who, according to Guregian, "carefully chose his answer" -- repsonded with a smile: "I think if you're a Patriot fan, a little bit."

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Van Noy sees playing-time bump as he learns Patriots language

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Van Noy sees playing-time bump as he learns Patriots language

When Kyle Van Noy was traded to the Patriots in late October, he had a lot to learn. He needed to understand the layout of his new team's maze-like facility. He needed to adjust to a new locker room. He needed to adapt to a new home. 

He also had to become fluent in a new language.

The former Lions 'backer was inactive for two weeks before he was comfortable enough with the Patriots system -- and the coaching staff was comfortable enough with him -- to get on the field. He played 29 snaps against the Niners in first game with his new club, then saw 28 plays against the Jets. On Sunday he saw his role expand as he played 40 of a possible 51 plays, which was more than Shea McClellin (38) or Dont'a Hightower (33). 

"Kyle has done a great job of working really hard to acclimate to what we’re doing, and he has had to learn really fast as far as the system, the communication, the language," said defensive coordinator Matt Patricia on a conference call Tuesday. "It’s like when you go to a different system, offensively or defensively, a lot of times it’s just learning the vernacular and the verbiage . . . That’s a big part of it. Then getting more familiar with that kind of terminology and the communication is critical because there’s a lot of calls and adjustments, things like that that we’ve got to do on the field."

Van Noy was making some of those calls himself on Sunday as he wore the green dot on his helmet when Hightower was on the sidelines. Even with the added responsibility, Van Noy was able to play freely enough that he put together what might have been the best game of his three-year career. 

Used at the end of the line of scrimmage as well as in a more traditional off-the-line linebacker role, Van Noy was effective in defending both the pass and the run: He stuffed three Rams rush attempts, he recorded a quarterback hit that led to an incompletion, he drew a holding call, and he recorded an athletic interception when he tracked a wobbling Jared Goff pass that floated over the middle after Jabaal Sheard hit Goff's arm as the rookie released his throw.

After several of his stand-out plays, Van Noy was visibly excited on the field and later on the sidelines. It was the culmination of six weeks of work, learning as much as he could from a coaching staff that was eager to teach him. 

"He’s extremely prideful in his work and his approach to the game," Patricia said. "He’s very cerebral. He’ll ask a lot of questions. He really wants to understand what we’re doing and why, which is great. We’re trying to give him those answers and insight into kind of where some of this either came from or developed or situations like that so that’s really good."