FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- Quick hits from Wes Welker’s press conference this afternoon in the media workroom at Gillette Stadium:
On how Rob Gronkowski and Aaron Hernandez’s production helps him get open: “Any time you have great players out there on the field, it helps everybody out. We’re all in this together, when they get open like they do, it’s going to free up other guys when they try and cover them. So I’ve got to do the best I can to get open when I have the opportunity.”
Expect a physical game from Ravens: “They’re very physical, a very physical football team. You’ve got to understand that and know that they’re going to come out hitting, and you’ve got to come back and hit just as much and understand that, hey, it’s going to be a physical football game, and it always is with these teams. You’ve got to make sure you’re not backing down from that.”
Fast break: Asked how he would describe the challenges a no-huddle offense presents to the defense, Welker suggested it comes down to personnel.
“I think it’s hard for them to get lined up, hard for them to get their calls, maybe if they want to make substitutions from first and 10 to second and 2, or different things like that, it makes it tough on the defense. The faster we can go, the harder we make it on them. It’s been successful for us, and hopefully we can use it, not use it, whatever our plan is to attack them.”
Asked if he sensed any confusion, exhaustion or panic by the defense when moving as fast as they did in last week’s game, Welker responded, “I mean sometimes, whenever we’re moving the ball. Yeah. But if we’re not and we go three-and-out, it makes it tough. So, we’ve got to make sure we’re making first downs, moving the ball, and doing what we need to do to score touchdowns.”
Brady will bounce back: Welker was reminded that Tom Brady has his lowest completion percentage of his playoff career, and lowest passer rating ever, against the Ravens. But Welker didn’t think it was a function singular to the Patriots.
“He’s one of the toughest guys I’ve ever been around,” Welker said. “I can’t think of too many quarterbacks who don’t have a low completion percentage against the Ravens. I think that pretty much goes across the board in the NFL. I wouldn’t say he’s the first, and won’t be the last either.
“He’s obviously Tom, and he’s going to fight, and he’s going to keep coming at him, and we’re going to be right there with him.”
Training – and eating – right: Welker fielded several questions related to his training regimen, including his nutrition habits and trying to stay gluten-free. Asked by a national reporter how the beating he took in his first years with the Dolphins contributed to any changes in his workout regimen, Welker said he’s always changing things up, whether it’s intensity, tempo, or adding new ripples.
“I wouldn’t say it changed because of that,” he said. “You catch 100 balls [in a season] in this league, you’re going to take your fair share of hits, and different things like that. Each year, you have to train harder and faster and longer, and do the things necessary to keep your body right, and make sure you come out the next year able to be as dominant as you were the year before.
“It takes a lot of time, and it takes a lot of effort. It’s the only way to do it. It’s the only way I know how. It seems like every year I pick up new things that I need to do for myself to try and be better. That’s what you have to do, especially as you get older.”
Still enjoy a slice of pizza every now and then?
“I do, yeah. They actually make gluten-free pizzas these days, so I still get to enjoy that.”