Patriots

Welker: I still feel there's a lot of doubters

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Welker: I still feel there's a lot of doubters

By Mary Paoletti
CSNNE.com Staff Reporter Follow @mary_paoletti
It's hard to argue with numbers.

Or so they say. But it's not an expression Wes Welker is content to seek shade under.

I still feel like theres a lot of doubters that I cant do a lot of things on the field and that my value isnt as great as a lot of the other guys out there," he told CBSSports.com's Mark Morgan.

"Theres always something to prove and work on and get better at.

It's an interesting attitude for a wide receiver who's caught more than 100 passes in three of the last four seasons. Despite 86 catches and 848 yards last year, his averages in a Patriots uniform are impressive: 108 receptions, 1,134 yards and 5.5 touchdowns in 15.25 games.

Where Welker is confident, he's not content.

Im sure there are -- theres no doubt. ... Theyll always try to (argue the numbers).

So he trained. This offseason was the first since rehabbing his torn ACLMCL and Welker took advantage of his good health. Going into his fifth season with the Patriots he now says he's in the best shape of his life.

"I think just the amount of training I've been able to do. Not having to rehab and really just focusing in on this year and realizing that I need to be in the best shape possible. I think as you get older you get a little wiser in how to do that and what you need to do to accomplish that."

Welker's timing is good; this is his contract year. He'll make 2.5 million with the Patriots in 2011-12 before hitting free agency. When asked about his future, the wideout said he's focused on the year ahead, but confirmed a desire to stay put.

Of course I want to stay here. I love playing here," he said.

"I love the team type atmosphere that we have here in New England and I enjoy being around the guys and the type of work that everybody puts in collectively. It's what makes us go."

It's not surprising Tom Brady is high on Welker's list of Patriots 'Pros.' He credits some success to his quarterback, saying their relationship and on-field chemistry makes his job -- and racking up those numbers -- that much easier.

"He's the guy you want," Welker said of Brady. "He's definitely the dream quarterback in every way, shape and form for a receiver. We don't always see eye to eye... for the most part we do. We have a great relationship where we can talk about things. We'll get in something heated then we'll come to the side and say, 'Alright, what do we really think about this.'"

The duo will be on display Saturday in Detroit during New England's third preseason game, but Welker's eager to get back to regular season action. He gets the chance September 12 when the Patriots open against Miami -- the team that let him get away in 2007. That game -- every game -- presents an opportunity to prove he belongs in the elite class of NFL receivers.

And Welker is ready.

Mary Paoletti can be reached at mpaoletti@comcastsportsnet.com. Follow Mary on Twitter at http:twitter.comMary_Paoletti

Belichick: Patriots preparing for everything from slumping Julio Jones

Belichick: Patriots preparing for everything from slumping Julio Jones

FOXBORO -- Julio Jones: He’s the best, right? No? No touchdowns this season? He stinks? He’s going to score against the Patriots because their defense stinks? Real breakout game for ol’ No. 11 in red? Who knows?! Lmao. 

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I’ll tell you what Bill Belichick knows: That Jones is not a one-dimensional player. While “deep threat” might be the first thing that comes to mind with ol’ No. 11 in red, Belichick said the Patriots are preparing for anything and everything from ol’ No. 11 in red. 

“Yeah, I wouldn’t say [he’s just a deep threat],” Belichick said. “I mean, he catches a lot of in-cuts, a lot of over routes, out routes, the one he caught against us last year. He’s good on catch-and-run plays, he’s hard to tackle, he’s strong, slants, so he’s pretty good on everything. You know, same thing, but I mean, they screened everybody. They screened the backs and the receivers and Gabriel, Jones. I mean, they all can get the ball. They’re not just going to screen to one guy and just key on that guy. They mix it up.”

The Patriots will mix it up with the Falcons Sunday night at Gillette Stadium. Jones has 25 catches for 367 yards on the season.  

THURSDAY NIGHT FOOTBALL: Raiders score on final play for 31-30 win over Chiefs

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THURSDAY NIGHT FOOTBALL: Raiders score on final play for 31-30 win over Chiefs

OAKLAND, Calif. -- Wins have been so hard to come by for the Oakland Raiders that it took three tries at the final play for them finally to pull this one out and possibly save their season.

Derek Carr threw a 2-yard touchdown pass to Michael Crabtree on the final play after the game was extended by two straight defensive holding calls and the Raiders snapped a four-game losing streak with a 31-30 victory over the Kansas City Chiefs on Thursday night.

"We didn't give up," Crabtree said. "We got a team full of fighters. We believe. ... No matter how hard the game was, we believed. We came out with the W and I'm excited. It's a good way to win, a great way to win."

With their season on the line following the recent slump, Carr led an 85-yard touchdown drive in the final 2:25 to give the Raiders (3-4) the thrilling comeback in a game they trailed by nine points heading into the fourth quarter.

Carr finished 29 for 52 for 417 yards and three touchdowns, with Amari Cooper catching 11 passes for 210 yards and two of the scores. The Raiders had struggled to get the ball downfield while being held to 17 or fewer points in four straight games but Carr repeatedly beat the Chiefs with deep passes.

"No. 4 kept making plays," coach Jack Del Rio said. "This is a special, special win."

Alex Smith threw for 342 yards and three touchdowns but it wasn't enough for the Chiefs (5-2). They lost consecutive games for the first time since Oct. 11-18, 2015, and had their 12-game winning streak in the AFC West snapped in a thrilling finish.

"I've never been part of a game that came down so dramatic," linebacker Derrick Johnson said. "But, still had a chance to win. Period. Just have to make a play. One play. One play."

The Raiders had an apparent go-ahead touchdown pass to Jared Cook with 18 seconds left overturned when replay ruled he was down at the 1. An offensive pass interference on Crabtree wiped out another touchdown on the next play.

But holding calls on Ron Parker and Eric Murray set the stage for the final play. Carr hit Crabtree in the front corner of the end zone to tie it at 30. Giorgio Tavecchio won it with the extra point , setting off a celebration on a wild night that included Oakland running back Marshawn Lynch getting ejected in the second quarter for shoving an official.

HOT TEMPERS: The game took an odd turn midway through the second quarter after Kansas City's Marcus Peters hit Carr late, angering the Raiders. Offensive linemen Kelechi Osemele and Donald Penn confronted Peters and Lynch sprinted off the Oakland sideline to join the fray. Lynch, a close friend of Peters, ended up shoving line judge Julian Mapp and getting ejected . Peters also was called for a personal foul on the play. Lynch congratulated his teammates in the locker room after the game but didn't speak to reporters.

"I was disappointed he ran out because I knew we had a 15-yard penalty and we'd be in good shape," Del Rio said.

LONG DRIVE: After Marquette King pinned the Chiefs at their own 1 with a perfect punt early in the second quarter, Kansas City needed little time to turn the momentum. Smith hit Demarcus Robinson on a 33-yard pass on the first play of the drive. After a short run, Tyreek Hill beat David Amerson for a 64-yard touchdown pass that gave the Chiefs their first 99-yard drive since doing it Dec. 3, 2006, against Cleveland.

DEEP CONNECTION: Carr had not connected on a single deep ball to Amari Cooper all season before the two teamed twice for long TDs in the opening quarter. On the first, Cooper appeared to push Terrance Mitchell but the officials picked up the flag and gave Cooper the 38-yard TD . Later in the quarter Carr and Cooper connected on a 45-yard score, making Cooper the first Raiders receiver with two TD catches in the first quarter since Mervyn Fernandez in 1989.

KICKING WOES: The Raiders were hurt last week when a bad snap by Jon Condo led to a missed extra point by Giorgio Tavecchio in a 17-16 loss to the Chargers. That was Tavecchio's first missed kick of any kind this season but he then had a 53-yarder blocked and missed a 45-yarder wide left in the second quarter. Tavecchio also had a false start on an extra point in the third quarter.

UP NEXT

Chiefs: Host Denver on Oct. 30.

Raiders: Visit Buffalo on Oct. 29.