Ian Rapoport says Wes Welker defies the odds as one of the NFL's best receivers.
"In his mind, he thinks he’s 6-foot-6 and weighs 290 pounds," said Shelley Welker, Wes’ mother. "We have to pray for protection for him. I know it’s dangerous out there, but he usually stays away from the hard hits. And he always pops back up."
You hear all these stories about how veteran players give you the cold shoulder, thinking they brought you in to take their spot, but it was different when I got here. Fred came to me with open arms. He said, "I'm willing to teach you if you are willing to learn and listen." To hear one of the best players at the time - and still, now - say something like that turned our relationship into what it is now.
It was more off the field than on the field. He showed me the ropes around Jacksonville and obviously coming from Los Angeles with no money to Jacksonville, having a little bit of money he helped me with how to manage my money and with whom to talk to. We talked about a lot of different things. When I didn't have someone to cook for me at home when my parents weren't out here, he would invite me over to his house to come eat and hang out with his family. Those things definitely opened my eyes to the man.
A lot of people don't know Fred because he is quiet, but he opened up with me and we talked about everything from football to life, money, to going back to school and graduating, to pretty much everything. He definitely put a big impact on my life.
Bill Belichick talks about the Jaguars.
I think the thing that stands out about this team is how big and physical they are really in every area. They are physical on offense, physical on defense, physical in the kicking game. [They're] strong, they're tough. They can run the ball. They can stand up to the running game. They cover well. Of course, they can throw it and defend it, too. They're a physical team. They are big. They are tough and they bring that style of play pretty much every week in every phase of the game. When you look at the players they have, right down the roster, for the most part, they're bigger and probably faster than most of the other players in the league at their respected positions. They do a good job of mixing up their attack, both offensively and defensively. They do a good job of keeping you off balance, but at the same time do the things they do well and make you stop their best players, which they have quite a few of.
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Tuesday Conference Calls: Bill Belichick (10:25), Nick Caserio (8:20), Dean Pees (7:00), Jack Del Rio (8:53), Maurice Jones-Drew (12:20). Plus Transcripts.
- Albert Breer notes that for Brady, all routes lead to Welker and Moss.
- Albert Breer offers the analysis of an AFC scout on the Jaguars: Gritty, tough, resilient.
- Mike Reiss lists his ten quick-hit thoughts on the Jaguars.
- Kerry Byrne offers this cold hard football fact: The Patriots have faced an unbelievably tough and statistically improbable collection of defenses this year. And given this slate, Brady has outperformed every quarterback in football in 2009.
- Mike Reiss looks at where the Patriots rank in terms of big plays allowed, and big plays on offense. Pats allowed the fifth fewest big plays in the NFL and rank 12th in having the most big plays on offense.
- Matt Pepin wants fans to name that defense: What should the Patriots' 5-linebacker, 6-defensive back scheme be named? Vote here.
- Shalise Manza Young looks at who's naughty and nice among possible Patriots' playoff opponents.
- Christopher Price answers his weekly reader mailbag and Randy Moss comes out smelling like a rose - not the wet dog as portrayed by the media.
- Boston Herald Patriots Notebook: Shawn Springs and James Sanders have returned to solidify the Patriots secondary; Fred Taylor wasn't asked to provide a scouting report to Bill Belichick; No comment from the coaches on reports that Floyd Reese and Jason LIcht are candidates for the GM position in Seattle.
- Tim Graham (ESPN) How I see it: AFC East stock watch.
- Tim Graham (ESPN) Not all coaches up to the challenge.
- Tim Graham (ESPN) Long, Faneca, Wilfork win Pro Bowl vote.
- Vito Stellino (Florida Times-Union) Jack Del Rio questions Fred Taylor's barbs about film study.
- Dom Bonvissuto (SI) NFL playoff projections.
- Don Banks (SI) Colts still alive in NFL team of decade debate.