2013 DRAFT GUIDE
Patriots, Welker prep for showdown of standout WRs

By MATTHEW CARROLL - Associated Press
    2012-11-16 17:08

FOXBOROUGH, Mass. (AP) - For 10 years, it was billed as Peyton Manning vs. Tom Brady.

But now, with Manning halfway through his first season in Denver, Sunday's showdown between the Indianapolis Colts (6-3) and New England Patriots (6-3) is being hyped for rookie quarterback Andrew Luck's first game against a three-time Super Bowl MVP.

Perhaps the spotlight should be on receivers Reggie Wayne and Wes Welker, though, as two of the most dynamic and dangerous weapons in the league continue surging seasons.

The quiet, crafty and versatile veterans once again rank atop the NFL this year. Wayne leads all receivers with 69 receptions and is second to Detroit's Calvin Johnson with 931 yards. Welker, meanwhile, is tied for third with 66 receptions and is seventh with 810 yards.

The fact that they're both at the head of the class shouldn't come as a surprise, though. After all, they've been doing it for years.

Since Welker arrived in New England in 2007, he has the most receptions (620) and fourth-most yards (6,915) in the league, while Wayne, drafted by Indianapolis in 2001, trails only Atlanta's Roddy White in yards (7,165), and is tied with Chicago's Brandon Marshall for No. 2 in receptions (541) during that same span.

Wayne, who had seven straight 1,000-yard seasons between 2004-10, also has scored 39 touchdowns in that time frame to Welker's 33.

Not bad.

``I'm only nine years (in) right now. It's hard to keep on playing well. And he's at 12! And still playing really well,'' Welker said of Wayne. ``He's at the top of the league in everything and playing like the best receiver in the league right now. You definitely have an appreciation for it.''

Luck certainly does.

As if replacing the only four-time MVP in league history wasn't tough enough, imagine how difficult Luck's transition from college could have been without a dependable target to throw to.

``He doesn't talk much. He's not going to sit down and lecture the young guys, but the way he works, the way he prepares during the week, the way he takes care of his body, the way he mentally prepares, is a great example for us all in the locker room,'' Luck said. ``To boot, he's a great football player, so it's fun getting able to throw to him.''

With Manning sidelined for the entire season last year, the Colts went 2-14 - earning the right to select Luck with the top pick in the draft - and many expected Wayne to depart Indianapolis for greener pastures.

Wayne, 33, didn't flinch, though. He simply chose to remain with the only team he's ever played for.

``He's a Colt and he wanted to be a Colt bad. He's a legend here and he's going to go into the Hall of Fame,'' Colts interim coach Bruce Arians said. ``He knew what he was getting into and I think he's excited more than anybody with the change. He's a rookie in this offense, too. Because he sat out on the left side for 10 years and now he's all over the place, running routes that he's never run before.''

Patriots coach Bill Belichick wouldn't say whether Wayne's surprisingly successful season was solely attributed to the emergence of Luck, who has connected with Wayne for three touchdowns so far. To him, Wayne is the same lethal receiver he's always been.

``I don't really see Reggie Wayne much differently than I saw him in the past. He was good then, he's good now,'' Belichick said. ``There were some issues last year with their quarterbacking and passing game and all that but I didn't see any drop-off in Reggie Wayne as a football player.

``I don't know, maybe I missed it. He's always looked pretty good to me.''

Tasked with trying to slow Wayne and the Colts' aerial assault this weekend, New England safety Steve Gregory also hasn't noticed anything different about the standout receiver.

``Just being Reggie Wayne,'' he said. ``That guy's a consistently excellent wide receiver in the NFL. That's why he's around so long and that's why you've got to know where he is at all times.''

After missing two practices earlier in the week with an ankle injury, Welker returned to the field Friday but refused to place a percentage on his health.

``I don't know if anybody's 100 percent at this point in the season,'' he said. ``I don't know where I'm at. I'm just looking forward to getting better and trying to contribute on Sunday.''

Even if Manning's not on the other sideline anymore.

``They're a 6-3 team and playing really good football right now with a young group of guys,'' Welker said. ``Reggie Wayne's playing really well and their defense flies around pretty good.

``So, I'd say that's still a pretty big rivalry.''

---

Online: http://pro32.ap.org/poll and http://twitter.com/AP-NFL

Fantasy Football Player Notes RSS FeedPLAYER NOTES

Josh MorganApr 22 09:52a

Chicago Bears WR Joshua Morgan is likely to compete for the No. 3 or 4 wide receiver role this year, and he'll compete with WRs Domenik Hixon, Eric Weems [ More ]

Will HillApr 22 09:33a

New York Giants FS Will Hill is facing a year-long suspension after reportedly failing another drug test. He will appeal what would be his third drug-related suspension.

Kyle WilliamsApr 21 09:33p

The Kansas City Chiefs re-signed WR Kyle Williams Monday, April 21. Terms of the deal were undisclosed.

Colt AndersonApr 21 07:12p

The Indianapolis Colts signed free-agent FS Colt Anderson (Eagles) to an undisclosed deal Monday, April 21.

Jamar TaylorApr 21 06:43p

Miami Dolphins CB Jamar Taylor (groin) is healthy following hernia surgery and began offseason workouts with his teammates Monday, April 21. Dolphins head coach Joe Philbin said he expects [ More ]

Dustin KellerApr 21 05:42p

Eugene Parker, agent for free-agent TE Dustin Keller (knee), said Keller is ready to participate in offseason workouts when he signs with a team.

Eric FisherApr 21 05:12p

Kansas City Chiefs OT Eric Fisher (shoulder, hernia) said there is no timetable for his return following multiple surgeries, but he doesn't think he'll be out for long. 'He's [ More ]

Josh MorganApr 21 04:02p

The Chicago Bears have signed free-agent WR Joshua Morgan (Redskins) to a one-year deal. Financial terms were not disclosed.

A.J. GreenApr 21 03:32p

Cincinnati Bengals WR A.J. Green said he has added around six pounds this offseason, because he wants to be more physical as a way to beat coverage at the [ More ]

Michael VickApr 21 02:42p

New York Jets QB Geno Smith said he believes he will be the starting quarterback this upcoming season even though the team added QB Michael Vick this offseason. He [ More ]

Navorro BowmanApr 21 02:12p

The San Francisco 49ers plan to place LB NaVorro Bowman (knee) on the Physically Unable to Perform list when training camp begins, because he is not expected to be [ More ]

Eric FisherApr 21 02:02p

Kansas City Chiefs OT Eric Fisher (shoulder, hernia) underwent shoulder surgery and had a procedure to fix a sports hernia. He's currently rehabbing in Kansas City.

Tony CarterApr 21 01:22p

The Denver Broncos signed DT Mitch Unrein to his restricted free-agent tender Monday, April 21. CB Tony Carter, SS Duke Ihenacho and LB Brandon M. Marshall all signed their exclusive rights tenders.

Rolando McClainApr 21 01:02p

Baltimore Ravens LB Rolando McClain is retiring from the NFL again Monday, April 21. 'I gotta follow my heart. It ain't football. If football made me complete I would [ More ]

Tony RomoApr 21 12:42p

Dallas Cowboys QB Tony Romo (back) will take part in the team's voluntary offseason program beginning Monday, April 21, according to a source. Players are allowed to lift weights, [ More ]

Marcus LattimoreApr 20 09:12p

San Francisco 49ers RB Marcus Lattimore (knee) is not expected to be restricted in any way when offseason workouts begin.

Michael EgnewApr 20 08:42p

The Miami Dolphins likely will add at least two more tight ends this offseason that will compete with TE Michael Egnew for a roster spot.

Armon BinnsApr 20 12:02a

Miami Dolphins WR Armon Binns is currently the team's No. 4 receiver, but the Dolphins have had discussions about WR Rishard Matthews replacing Binns at the spot, according to a source.

Tyrone CrawfordApr 20 12:02a

Dallas Cowboys DT Tyrone Crawford (Achilles') is expected to be ready for the team's offseason program, and he is expected to be a key piece to the defense this season.

M. Jones-DrewApr 20 12:02a

If healthy, Oakland Raiders RB Darren McFadden is expected to be the team's starting tailback with RB Maurice Jones-Drew as his backup.

Brian HartlineApr 20 12:02a

Miami Dolphins WR Brian Hartline (knee) is expected to be ready for the start of mini camp, according to a source. He suffered a torn posterior cruciate ligament in the 2013 regular season finale.

Terrelle PryorApr 19 01:02p

The Oakland Raiders will release QB Terrelle Pryor if they are not able to trade him by Monday, April 21.

LaMichael JamesApr 19 12:22p

The Kansas City Chiefs could consider pursuing San Francisco 49ers RB LaMichael James if he could become a slot receiver. The team likely would not have interest in James [ More ]

Matt HasselbeckApr 19 12:22p

Indianapolis Colts QB Matt Hasselbeck plans to retire after the 2014 season.

Asa JacksonApr 19 12:12p

Baltimore Ravens CBs Chykie Brown and Asa Jackson are expected to compete for the No. 3 cornerback job during training camp. If the team takes a cornerback in one [ More ]

Michael FordApr 19 11:32a

The Chicago Bears probably will select a running back in the later rounds of the 2014 NFL Draft to compete with RB Michael Ford for the No. 2 running [ More ]

Jordan PalmerApr 19 09:52a

The Chicago Bears could target a quarterback in the late rounds of the NFL Draft or in free agency to provide competition for backup QB Jordan Palmer.

Cam NewtonApr 19 09:32a

Carolina Panthers QB Cam Newton (ankle) remains in a walking boot about a month after ankle surgery. The team is hopeful Newton will be ready to go for training camp.

Michael RobinsonApr 19 12:02a

The Seattle Seahawks have not tried to re-sign free-agent FB Michael Robinson this offseason.

Russell AllenApr 18 11:42p

The Jacksonville Jaguars released LB Russell Allen (concussion) after he failed a physical.

Kendrick LewisApr 18 08:32p

Houston Texans FS Kendrick Lewis and SS Chris D. Clemons are expected to compete for the starting free safety job during training camp.

Trent RichardsonApr 18 08:22p

Indianapolis Colts head coach Chuck Pagano said it will be important for RB Trent Richardson to participate in all of the offseason workouts so he can get more comfortable [ More ]

RSS Feeds

NFL News:
 
Player Notes:
 
Forum Posts:
 

© 2014 RealTime Fantasy Sports, Inc.
Email Us  ·  Call Us 636.447.1170  ·  Lost Password
Advertising represented by USA Today Sports Media Group