Brady: Can't replace someone like Welker

New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady spoke this morning for the first time about receiver Wes Welker’s knee injury, telling Boston sports radio station WEEI the offense was going to have to “evolve a little bit” without the team’s leading receiver.

Here is a sampling from the interview:

On moving on without Welker:

“You can’t replace him there’s no doubt about that. There’s nobody that can substitute in for Wes and think that they’re going to be Wes. He is everything you ask for. He is just an incredible player and leader. It think as football goes it’s kind of the way it works unfortunately. And we’ve got to move on and we’ve got to go out there and play and everyone I think in different areas has to pick it up. I have to play better, Julian [Edelman] has to play better, Randy [Moss] has to play better, the offensive line, running backs, tight ends, we all have to do more. I think that’s the commitment we have to make to one another.”

On being able to move past the injury and focusing on the playoffs:

“In the short term we’ve got to get over [Welker’s injury] real quick. We should be over it now. And you realize we played a game without him yesterday and that’s the way it’s going to be.”

On how the Patriots can try to use Welker being out as an advantage:

“We’re going to evolve a little bit as an offense now. It was a very Wes Welker oriented offense. Maybe part of the advantage is Baltimore doesn’t really know what they’re going to see from us now. We’re going to have shift focus and they’re really not sure where that focus is going to go. In some ways that’s an advantage for us. There’s a lot of things we’ve done with Wes that we don’t do with anybody else. We're going to find other areas to exploit and use the talents of Julian and Sam [Aiken] and Randy and Chris Baker and Kevin [Faulk] and Laurence [Maroney] and Fred [Taylor] and Sammy [Morris], ands all those other really great players we have on offense to be able to move the ball.”

On Welker’s recovery as a learning process:

“Nobody loves Wes more than me. Going through a knee injury last year was a hard thing for me but in ways it was a good thing for me. It taught me a lot and I think for Wes it’s going to do the same thing. He’s as hard a worker as anyone I’ve been around and he’s everything you ask for.”

On the fickle nature of injuries:

“Football is a very unforgiving game. You never know when that play is going to come. How many times has Wes made that cut over the course of his career? And sure enough it’s just his one time where the foot doesn’t land right.”

On his belief in Welker:

“You never bet against a guy like Wes. His heart and his commitment to what it takes is stronger than just about anyone else’s. We talked a little bit. He’s going to fight through it.”

Comparing Welker’s knee injury to his own at the start of the 2008 season:

“Everyone goes through it a little bit differently, everyone’s got different knees. Him being a receiver is a little bit different than it was for me. I can afford to wear the knee brace the whole time in the game and I’m sure he’s not going to want to do that. Which is OK ... for Wes it’s just about going through the process. He’s as hard a worker on anyone on our team, anyone I’ve ever seen. He’s going to work just as hard through this as he would through the regular offseason program. He’ll be back at some point better than ever. I know that.”

On reports he is playing with broken ribs and finger:

Jokingly: “What’s the injury report say?”

“I’m feeling really good. Everyone breaks bones over the course of the year. I’m feeling pretty good. It’s the best I’ve felt in a while.”

On Edelman, Welker’s likely replacement:

“He has a different skill set than Wes. There are things that you do differently with Julian and things that you do differently with Wes. ... You’re not going to be able to make him into Wes Welker. You’re just going to have to allow him to do the things that he does well.”

On preparing for the Ravens:

“We’ve got to have a great week of practice. It’s a pretty tough team to prepare for, they’re a pretty exotic blitz team. They have a good offense, good defense, good special teams. they’re going to challenge us in a lot of different ways.”