2015 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

Richard RodgersJul 1 05:03p

Green Bay Packers TE Richard Rodgers could see more playing time in 2015, according to Rob Demovsky of ESPN.com. Rodgers played 528 snaps, while fellow TE Andrew Quarless played [ More ]

Rob HouslerJun 30 03:13p

Cleveland Browns TEs Gary Barnidge, Rob Housler and Jim Dray could all end up taking over for TE Jordan Cameron, who is now with the Miami Dolphins. Head coach [ More ]

Sam BradfordJun 29 05:22p

Philadelphia Eagles QB Sam Bradford (knee) is expected to be in the final phase of his rehabilitation from a torn anterior cruciate ligament once training camp begins. Bradford's second [ More ]

Charles JohnsonJun 29 02:02p

Minnesota Vikings WR Charles X. Johnson appears to have everything it takes to produce in the NFL, according to offensive coordinator Norv Turner. 'He's got great work ethic, and [ More ]

C.J. SpillerJun 28 09:02p

New Orleans Saints RB C.J. Spiller has a perfect skill-set for head coach Sean Payton's system, which relies on getting the ball to players in space, according Chris Wesseling [ More ]

Tony MoeakiJun 25 07:12p

Atlanta Falcons TE Tony Moeaki will compete with TE Jacob Tamme for the Falcons' starting tight end job during training camp. QB Matt Ryan praised both tight ends for [ More ]

Kelvin BenjaminJun 25 03:52p

Carolina Panthers WR Kelvin Benjamin's reported weight gain this offseason is being overblown, according to general manager Dave Gettleman. Gettleman expects Benjamin to be ready to go for training [ More ]

Antoine CasonJun 25 03:03a

Free-agent CB Antoine Cason (foot) will miss the 2015 season due to surgery he underwent on Tuesday, June 23. Cason (Ravens) did not specify what type of surgery he [ More ]

Marvin JonesJun 24 09:13p

Cincinnati Bengals WR Marvin Jones (ankle, foot) did not play in 2014 due to multiple foot and ankle issues, but he is healthy and was impressive in organized team activities (OTAs) and minicamp.

Keith WenningJun 24 02:43p

Free-agent QB Keith Wenning (Ravens) signed with the Cincinnati Bengals Wednesday, June 24. Terms of the contract were not disclosed.

Pierre GarconJun 24 02:23p

Washington Redskins WR Pierre Garcon could be featured more often in the passing game this season based on the offseason workouts. Garcon often lined up to the right of [ More ]

Martavis BryantJun 24 01:43p

Pittsburgh Steelers WRs Markus Wheaton and Martavis Bryant are expected to compete for the No. 2 wide receiver job during training camp. Both players performed well during offseason workouts.

Peyton ManningJun 24 11:53a

Denver Broncos QB Peyton Manning was the subject of preliminary trade discussions with the Houston Texans, according to a source. The talks occurred before Manning restructured his deal and [ More ]

Rueben RandleJun 24 10:53a

New York Giants WR Rueben Randle was the best receiver on the field by a wide margin during spring practices, in the opinion of beat writer Jordan Ranaan. Randle [ More ]

Chris IvoryJun 24 10:43a

New York Jets RB Chris Ivory is listed as the starting running back entering training camp, according to beat writer Rich Cimini's unofficial depth chart. RB Bilal Powell is [ More ]

Devonta FreemanJun 23 10:22a

Atlanta Falcons RB Devonta Freeman enters training camp ahead of RB Tevin Coleman on the depth chart.

Joseph RandleJun 23 10:02a

Dallas Cowboys RB Joseph Randle appears to be the clear leader at running back, and it's his job to lose in training camp.

Ahmad BradshawJun 22 11:32p

Free-agent RB Ahmad Bradshaw (Colts) has been suspended one game for violation of the league's substance abuse policy. If he signs with a team he must sit out for the first week.

Terrelle PryorJun 22 04:33p

Cincinnati Bengals WR Terrelle Pryor was claimed off waivers by the Cleveland Browns Monday, June 22, according to a source.

Fred DavisJun 19 06:02p

New England Patriots TE Fred Davis was released Friday, June 19.

Dennis PittaJun 19 02:22p

Baltimore Ravens TE Dennis Pitta (hip) was not medically cleared to practice in minicamp as he continues to recover from his second dislocated and fractured hip in as many [ More ]

Isaiah CrowellJun 19 01:22p

Cleveland Browns RB Isaiah Crowell could be the workhorse back if his ball security improves, according to offensive coordinator John DeFilippo.

Devonta FreemanJun 19 01:12p

Atlanta Falcons RB Devonta Freeman will be used in a lot of different ways, including as a receiver, according to head coach Dan Quinn. 'I knew Devonta had terrific [ More ]

Chris OgbonnayaJun 19 11:32a

Free-agent RB Chris Ogbonnaya (Giants) announced his retirement Friday, June 19.

John MoffittJun 18 11:02p

Free-agent OG John Moffitt unretired Wednesday, June 17, and cleared waivers Thursday, June 18. He is free to sign with a team of his choosing. The Philadelphia Eagles, Miami [ More ]

Terrelle PryorJun 18 09:32p

Free-agent QB Terrelle Pryor is going to give it a shot at playing wide receiver in the NFL. Some teams have already expressed an interest.

Allen RobinsonJun 18 09:22p

Jacksonville Jaguars WR Allen Robinson was described as 'unbelievable' by QB Blake Bortles Thursday, June 18. 'He's definitely a threat now in the red zone. ... He's physical. He [ More ]

Terrelle PryorJun 18 05:32p

Cincinnati Bengals QB Terrelle Pryor was waived Thursday, June 18.

Taylor ThompsonJun 18 05:32p

Tennesse Titans TE Taylor Thompson was waived Thursday, June 18.

Matthew MulliganJun 18 04:32p

Free-agent TE Matthew Mulligan (Titans) signed an undisclosed contract with the Buffalo Bills Thursday, June 18.

Carlton MitchellJun 18 04:22p

Free-agent WR Carlton Mitchell (Buccaneers) signed an undisclosed contract with the Atlanta Falcons Thursday, June 18. WR Shane Wynn was waived.

Daniel ThomasJun 18 04:12p

Free-agent RB Daniel Thomas (Dolphins) signed a one-year contract with the Chicago Bears Thursday, June 18. Financial terms were not disclosed.

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