FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- There was one play in the Patriots' most recent game where receiver Wes Welker had run a route against cornerback Ike Taylor, and it looked like Taylor was making contact with him beyond the 5-yard limit.
Welker turned toward the official, his arm stretched out, asking why he wasn't seeing a penalty flag.
Such aggressive, pushing-the-envelope play by defenders against Welker has been easy to see in recent weeks -- both to those watching the game and Welker himself -- and it was something the NFL's leading receiver was asked about Friday.
“There has been a lot more man coverage, guys getting in your face and grabbing and doing whatever they need to do,” he said. “At the same time, you have to understand that and do business as business is being done, and be physical and get open. That’s what it comes down to.”
Welker opened the year with 40 receptions in his first four games, which has led to defenses altering their approach. In the last three games, he's totaled 17 catches, with Steelers defenders saying they noticed he was getting frustrated last Sunday.
"You understand they are pros too, they get paid too, they're going to win some and you're going to win some," Welker said. "You just have to keep on fighting and keep on playing hard, and understand that when you have an opportunity to make a big play to go make it."
Given the Giants' solid pass rush, getting initial separation takes on added importance Sunday.
"They are one of the best pass rushing [teams] around. Definitely getting open with quickness and making sure we can try to tire those guys out as much as possible is going to help us," he said.
When asked if it would help to get players like Chad Ochocinco, Taylor Price or someone else deep, Welker was quick to answer.
"I've actually gotten the ball deep a few times this year too, so I don't think you can just take me out of the equation either," he said, referring to his 99-yard touchdown at Miami and 73-yard catch against the Jets in which his solid route contributed to defensive backs Darrelle Revis/Eric Smith botching the coverage.
"I think any time you can get the ball deep, to anybody, it's going to help out the passing game. We'll just see how it all plays out and what we can do on Sunday."