Edelman, McCourty on Welker, Patricia

BOSTON, Mass. -- During a visit to the Kraft Family Blood Donor Center at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, Patriots receiver Julian Edelman and defensive back Devin McCourty fielded a few football questions from reporters.

When informed of receiver Wes Welker's decision to sign his franchise tender, Edelman called it a "real positive thing."

“He’s one of our better players on our team and he’s only going to make us better. I think that's great," Edelman said, noting that he hadn't heard the news before it was mentioned by a reporter. “It says that he’s a great teammate and that he wants to get back with the team. I’m sure he’s excited to come back and train with us, and we’re exited to have him back."

Edelman, who enters his fourth NFL season, is Welker's primary backup and the Patriots' top punt returner. In 2009, he totaled a career-high 37 receptions, with his best game coming in the season finale against the Texans when he filled in for Welker, who had torn his ACL. Edelman had 10 receptions that day.

Since that time, Edelman hasn't had many opportunities to break through, totaling 11 receptions over the last two seasons.

Welker, Edelman, Anthony Gonzalez and seventh-round draft choice Jeremy Ebert comprise the top slot options for the Patriots in 2012. Welker, Edelman and Gonzalez all have contracts that expire after the 2012 season.

While Welker's status has been one of the big storylines of the offseason, one of the notable changes on defense is Matt Patricia officially being named defensive coordinator.

McCourty, who worked closely with Patricia while platooning in a safety and cornerback role in 2011, doesn’t think the promotion will alter Patricia’s approach.

“One good thing about being in New England is guys’ attitudes – they don’t change," McCourty said. “Whether Wes is coming back from signing a franchise tender, a guy signs a new contract, Matty P. becomes the defensive coordinator, for us it’s you go on with your day as usual.

“He’s been a great coach since I’ve been there, and I’m happy for him to step up and be promoted to that position. I expect what I’ve been getting the last two years: great coaching and guys [doing] everything they ask.”