Wes Welker responds to a question about critics who are going to say, "Let's not have what happened to Wes last year, happen this year."
I say that I'm here to play football. That's what I get paid to do. I love playing. So, no matter what's at stake or no matter what the deal is, I want to play. I know people probably think differently about that, but I don't worry about other stuff, and whatever Coach Belichick decides for me, that's what I'm going to do, but I'm always ready to play.
I have not [talked to him about how much I might play]. For me, I'm going out there and preparing for Miami and getting ready for them. They're a strong team that hasn't given up on the season, so we're definitely coming out and making sure that we're coming out prepared to play.
Rob Ninkovich talks about the most discouraging part of his career and how rewarding it is this year.
Two years ago would be when I got cut from New Orleans being a snapper. That was probably the most discouraging part of my career. You go from a defensive lineman to a long snapper, and then getting cut before camp even started to even show you can do it. This year has been another year where I've been able to achieve some of my goals that I had written out a long time ago. It's a good feeling, but I still have some more to go.
[What about this system allows LBs to come in and be able to contribute right away or is it the player?] I think it's a combination. I think it's opportunity. Some guys are given an opportunity to go out there and whatever it may be, fail. Some guys don't even have a chance to go out there. I think that certain players have been given opportunity and they haven't failed, and they've done well and they've made some plays. It's one of those things where you get a chance, and you've got to make the best of it.
I think that's one of the best things about the Patriots is it's a performance-based evaluation of how good you are and if you can help the team out and do anything for the team, you're going to have a chance to help the team.
- Erik Scalavino tells us what happened at Thursday's practice and in the locker room.
- Erik Scalavino reports that despite drops, Julian Edelman remains confident.
- Patriots locker room quotes from Thursday.
- Patriots-Dolphins Thursday Injury Report.
- Patriots to recognize all cancer survivors and caregivers in attendance during halftime of Sunday's game.
- Miami Dolphins Conference Calls: Tony Sparano (7.54 min.) and Chad Henne (5.36 min.) plus Transcripts.
- Patriots Today - Welker vs. Bell. (3.21 min. video)
- Patriots Today - Pats wrap it up against Miami. (3.30 min. video)
- Locker Room Uncut - Gearing up for the Dolphins. (3.25 min. video)
- Ron Borges throws up in his mouth as he writes Bill Belichick deserves the NFL's Coach of the Year honor.
- Monique Walker focuses on Jerod Mayo as the steady quarterback of the Patriots defense, helping the young players improve throughout the season.
- Ian Rapoport notes Brandon Spikes is anxious to play.
- Paul Kenyon reports Tony Sparano is preparing for the Patriots' best on Sunday.
- Gary Marbry offers his stat-filled Patriots-Dolphins preview nuggetpalooza.
- Tom E. Curran says with Bill Belichick lavishing praise on Logan Mankins, will they walk it like they talk it in order to keep him off the free-agent market?
- Mike Reiss reports Brandon Meriweather's fine for flagrant hits against the Baltimore Ravens in October has been reduced from 50K to 40K.
- Mike Reiss points out if the Patriots win on Sunday, Belichick would become the first head coach ever to win at least 14 regular-season games in four separate seasons.
- Mike Reiss cleans out his team notebook with some picked-up pieces from around the New England Patriots.
- Mark Farinella reports Wes Welker is not worried about deja vu.
- Mike Rodak catches Wes Welker looking ahead to the season finale.
- Christopher Price reports BenJarvus Green-Ellis could become the unlikeliest 1,000-yard running back in the 50-year history of the Patriots.
- Bill Reynolds writes Michael Vick is a great story of redemption, but Tom Brady is the MVP.
- Mary Paoletti reports that it's been the Patriots' captains that have shown the young team the way.
- Jerry Spar highlights Adam Schefter's appearance on WEEI this morning. Schefter thinks the Ravens have the best shot at knocking off the Patriots.
- Mike Reiss offers the Top 10 Patriots stories for 2010.
- Karen Guregian offers her 2010 Patriots year in Review, noting the team's complete turnaround from their embarrassing January home playoff loss to the Ravens.
- Bob Ryan examines the State of the Teams and the very real possibility that Boston, Massachusetts, could become Parade City in 2011.
- WEEI Patriots Friday highlights: Jerod Mayo says the Patriots are preparing for 60 minutes vs. the Dolphins.
- Mike Reiss offers the transcript of his weekly online chat.
- Ian Rapoport Patriots Notebook: Rob Ninkovich has established himself as a playmaking LB; Wes Welker loves playing and wants to be on the field Sunday; Jerod Mayo was notified by the league that he'll be fined for a hit in Buffalo; Ryan Wendell will be filling in again for the injured Dan Connolly; Miami has solidified it's special teams units since the Patriots exploited them on national TV in Week 4; Vince Wilfork talked up Fins center Richie Incognito.
- Monique Walker Patriots Notebook: Wes Welker is an inspiration to his teammates; Brandon Meriweather gets a flagrant hit fine reduced by 10K because of good behavior; Ryan Wendell had his first career start last week filling in for the concussed Dan Connolly; Injury updates; Tony Sparano joked that the Fins would kick away from Connolly if he plays.
- Jim Lazar Week 17 picks: Pats 30-10.
- Kirk Minihane makes his Week 17 picks. Patriots 34, Dolphins 14.
- Globe Staff's Pro Picks Week 17: Four out of four pick New England over Miami.
- Tim Graham (ESPN) Sal Alosi wall draws $100,000 fine for Jets.
- Tim Graham (ESPN) Rare err: Tom Brady's INTs a limited edition.
- Tim Graham (ESPN) Wes Welker doesn't want to take a knee.
- Kalani Simpson (Fox Sports) 2010 New England Patriots resemble 2001 Super Bowl predecessors.
- Countdown Daily (ESPN) Tedy Bruschi and Tim Hasselbeck claim Patriots backup QB Brian Hoyer will beat the Dolphins even if Tom Brady doesn't play much.
- Don Banks (SI) 2010 NFL Awards: Doling out the hardware for MVP, top rookie, more. Gives nod to Tom Brady: MVP, Bill Belichick: Coach of the Year.
- Alex Marvez (Fox Sports) 2010's most fascinating people.
- Peter King (SI) Weekend Pickoff: Week 17. Patriots 30, Dolphins 9.
VIEW FROM MIAMI
- Jeff Darlington (Miami Herald) Miami Dolphins players firmly behind Tony Sparano.
- Ben Volin (Palm Beach Post) Miami Dolphins' Tony Sparano concedes his job is at risk but is 'very confident' in team's direction.
- MiamiDolphins.com NFL Network's Dolphins-Patriots Preview. (2.21 min. video)
- Omar Kelly (Sun Sentinel) Dolphins expecting Patriots to be at full strength Sunday.
- Andy Kent (MiamiDolphins.com) Dolphins preparing to go out on a high note at New England.
- Brian Biggane (Palm Beach Post) Miami Dolphins' Brandon Marshall, Chad Henne at odds?
- Mike Berardino (Sun Sentinel) Marshall expresses reservations about his pairing with Henne. WR says young QB should "just throw it up" to him.
- Armando Salguero (Miami Herald) Henning (no surprise) not saying he's retiring.