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

Doug BaldwinNov 25 07:43p

Seattle Seahawks WR Doug Baldwin (ankle) did not take part in practice Wednesday, Nov. 25.

Tyrod TaylorNov 25 07:23p

Updating a previous report, Buffalo Bills QB Tyrod Taylor (shoulder) said he will play in Week 12 against the Kansas City Chiefs.

Malcom FloydNov 25 06:53p

San Diego Chargers TE Antonio Gates (hip) and WR Malcom Floyd (shoulder) were limited in practice Wednesday, Nov. 25.

Case KeenumNov 25 06:43p

St. Louis Rams QB Case Keenum (concussion) was limited in practice Wednesday, Nov. 25.

Dexter McClusterNov 25 06:33p

Tennessee Titans RB Dexter McCluster (knee) did not take part in practice Wednesday, Nov. 25.

Kendall WrightNov 25 06:33p

Tennessee Titans WR Kendall Wright (knee) was limited in practice Wednesday, Nov. 25.

Mark IngramNov 25 06:23p

New Orleans Saints RB Mark Ingram's (shoulder) injury isn't expected to be a major concern after resting last week during the bye. It's unclear, however, if his shoulder injury [ More ]

Andrew LuckNov 25 06:23p

Indianapolis Colts QB Andrew Luck (abdomen, kidney) is confident that he will play again this year, but a timetable for his return at this point is tough to gauge. [ More ]

Leonard HankersonNov 25 06:13p

Atlanta Falcons WR Leonard Hankerson (hamstring) is still bothered by a hamstring strain, and the Falcons may continue to take their time with his injury. Hankerson previously missed two [ More ]

A. Seferian-JenkinsNov 25 06:03p

Tampa Bay Buccaneers TE Austin Seferian-Jenkins (shoulder) was limited in practice Wednesday, Nov. 25.

Stedman BaileyNov 25 05:53p

St. Louis Rams WR Stedman Bailey (head) is out of surgery and will be in an intensive care unit for 3-5 days. Doctors are hopeful he will make a successful recovery.

Danny AmendolaNov 25 04:43p

New England Patriots WRs Julian Edelman (foot), Danny Amendola (knee) and Aaron Dobson (ankle) did not practice Wednesday, Nov. 25.

Glenn DorseyNov 25 04:33p

San Francisco 49ers DT Glenn Dorsey (knee) was placed on the Reserve/Injured list Wednesday, Nov. 25, after suffering a torn anterior cruciate ligament in Week 11.

Marshawn LynchNov 25 03:53p

Updating a previous report, Seattle Seahawks RB Marshawn Lynch (hernia) will return in three to four weeks after undergoing sports hernia surgery Wednesday, Nov. 25, but he could be [ More ]

Matt ForteNov 25 03:33p

Chicago Bears RB Matt Forte (knee) and WR Alshon Jeffery (groin, shoulder) are both listed as questionable for Week 12 against the Green Bay Packers Thursday, Nov. 26.

John BrownNov 25 03:13p

Arizona Cardinals WR John Brown (hamstring) did not practice Wednesday, Nov. 25.

Martellus BennettNov 25 02:53p

Chicago Bears TE Martellus Bennett (ribs) has been ruled out for Week 12 Thursday, Nov. 26.

Michael FloydNov 25 02:33p

Arizona Cardinals WR Michael Floyd (hamstring) is practicing Wednesday, Nov. 25.

Emmanuel SandersNov 25 02:23p

Denver Broncos WR Emmanuel Sanders (ankle) is practicing Wednesday, Nov. 25.

Charcandrick WestNov 25 02:03p

Kansas City Chiefs RB Charcandrick West (hamstring) is out of practice Wednesday, Nov. 25.

Johnny ManzielNov 25 01:33p

Cleveland Browns QB Johnny Manziel's tenure with the Browns may not be over, according to head coach Mike Pettine. 'I certainly hope not,' Pettine said, when asked if Manziel [ More ]

Marshawn LynchNov 25 01:23p

Seattle Seahawks RB Marshawn Lynch (hernia) underwent successful sports hernia surgery Wednesday, Nov. 25, according to a source. The hope is that Lynch can return in late December.

Christian PonderNov 25 01:03p

Updating a previous item, free-agent QB Christian Ponder (Raiders) signed with the Denver Broncos Wednesday, Nov. 25, according to a source. Ponder will start out as the team's No. [ More ]

Zach ErtzNov 25 12:53p

Philadelphia Eagles TE Zach Ertz (concussion) is officially out for Week 12 Thursday, Nov. 26.

Ryan MathewsNov 25 12:53p

Philadelphia Eagles RB Ryan Mathews (concussion) is officially out for Week 12 Thursday, Nov. 26.

Sam BradfordNov 25 12:53p

Philadelphia Eagles QB Sam Bradford (concussion, shoulder) is a long shot to play Thursday, Nov. 26, against the Detroit Lions. He practiced fully Wednesday, Nov. 25, and is questionable for Week 12.

Tyrod TaylorNov 25 12:43p

Buffalo Bills QB Tyrod Taylor (shoulder) is feeling better and likely to play in Week 12, according to head coach Rex Ryan. 'I think Tyrod is going to play,' [ More ]

Devonta FreemanNov 25 12:33p

Atlanta Falcons RB Devonta Freeman (concussion) is still in the first phase of the concussion protocol and won't practice Wednesday, Nov. 25, according to head coach Dan Quinn.

Marcus ThigpenNov 25 12:23p

Buffalo Bills RB Dan Herron and WR Denarius Moore were cut Wednesday, Nov. 25. WR Marcus Thigpen was re-signed by the Bills.

Christian PonderNov 25 12:23p

Free-agent QB Christian Ponder (Raiders) will sign with the Denver Broncos, according to a source. He'll be the No. 3 quarterback.

Frank GoreNov 25 11:43a

Indianapolis Colts RB Frank Gore (knee) is out of practice Wednesday, Nov. 25.

Joseph RandleNov 25 10:43a

Free-agent RB Joseph Randle (Cowboys) was arrested Tuesday, Nov. 24, in a Kansas casino on charges including felony criminal threats, misdemeanor assault of a law enforcement officer, interference with [ More ]

RSS Feeds

NFL News:
Player Notes:
Forum Posts:

© 2015 RealTime Fantasy Sports, Inc.
Email Us  ·  Call Us 636.447.1170  ·  Lost Password
Advertising represented by USA Today Sports Media Group