Patriots

Giardi: Welker brings intelligence, passion to Texans coaching staff

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Giardi: Welker brings intelligence, passion to Texans coaching staff

WHITE SULPHUR SPRINGS, West Virginia -- If you can’t beat 'em, keep taking those with ties to the organization. That seems to be the Houston Texans modus operandi. First it was Bill O’Brien as the head coach, then Romeo Crennel as the defensive coordinator. Mike Vrabel left Ohio State’s coaching staff to come along for the ride, joining old teammate Larry Izzo. Now another familiar face has joined the staff, formerly number 83 in your Patriots program, Wes Welker. 

“I think all those guys are -- Wes, Larry, Mike -- are all players that had that were as hard a working players as I coached,” said Bill Belichick Tuesday morning. “Love the game. Were grinders. Had that coaching mentality, which is be there early and stay late. Put in the extra time. Do the dirty work. They all started at the bottom and worked their way up.”

That’s been Welker’s story almost from jump. Not heavily recruited to play college ball, then almost an afterthought to start off his NFL career -- he was undrafted -- to  getting cut by San Diego before latching on with Miami in 2004. It was there he caught Belichick’s eye as a player the Pats just couldn’t cover.

By the time he called it a career, Welker ranked 21st all-time in receptions and three times led the league in catches, including 123 in 2009 and 122 in 2011. Initially, Welker seemed to resist the urge to plunge back into football but the pull was too long so now he’s Coach Welker.

“Wes is such a smart, intelligent football player,” said former teammate and current Pats wide receiver Julian Edelman. “He played a lot of years. He’s a grinder, meaning he earned everything he got. He didn’t start on 3rd. He had have a long journey to being ultimately a revolutionary player who basically created a position.”

High praise from a player who succeeded Welker both as Tom Brady’s favorite target and as that slot guy who has proven to be just as tough to cover, if not more so. Maybe Welker coaching didn’t initially seem it was a fit but Edelman sees otherwise.

“Being in the locker room with him for so many years and being able to pick his brains and to see how just from how he practiced and how he played, it doesn’t surprise me at all,” said Edelman. “He was such a student of the game. He knew just about everything so it was one of those things being a coach, you know it’s a grind, it’s a huge thing, but he’s a football guy. He loves the sport.”

That passion is now Houston’s gain.

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Brady off injury report, Van Noy out

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Brady off injury report, Van Noy out

Tom Brady and cornerback Malcolm Butler were taken off the Patriots final injury report of the week before their Monday night game in Miami.

Brady, bothered by an Achilles injury the past few weeks, missed back-to-back practices earlier in the week but practiced Friday and in the snow with the other healthy Patriots on Saturday in Foxboro.

Offensive lineman Marcus Cannon is again out, as is linebacker Kyle Van Noy. Wide receiver Chris Hogan is among the 11 Patriots listed as questionable but practiced all week and is expected to play.

The Patriots' Saturday injury report: 

OUT: OL Marcus Cannon (ankle), LB Kyle Van Noy (calf)

QUESTIONABLE: LB Marquis Flowers (knee), DL Trey Flowers (rib), CB Stephon Gilmore (ankle), RB Mike Gillislee (illness), WR Chris Hogan (shoulder), RB Dion Lewis (illness), DB Brandon King (hamstring), CB Eric Rowe (groin), WR Matthew Slater (hamstring), OT LaAdrian Waddle (ankle), DE Deatrich Wise (foot)

Something to get off his chest: Brady apologizes to McDaniels for outburst

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Something to get off his chest: Brady apologizes to McDaniels for outburst

FOXBORO -- Tom Brady deemed it was time for an apology. A public one. 

When he stepped to the podium on Saturday afternoon, following his team's final practice of the week before flying to South Florida for the Monday night game in Miami, Brady took the opportunity to make a brief statement. 

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"One thing I do want to say first is I want to apologize to Josh for last week in Buffalo," Brady said. "I know our coaches work really hard and they're responsible for putting us in a great position to succeed. So just want to get that off my chest."

Brady and Patriots offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels were involved in a fiery sideline exchange in the first quarter of their game last weekend against the Bills. Brady appeared to miss open receivers on both first and third-down plays in Buffalo territory, and McDaniels seemed to harp on that fact to Brady when the quarterback came to the sidelines. Something McDaniels said caused Brady to erupt, and the 40-year-old MVP candidate unleashed a series of expletives in McDaniels' direction. 

Perhaps it's all the discussion surrounding his outburst and comparing it to those of players like Odell Beckham and Dez Bryant. Perhaps it's that he has three children old enough to see their dad on television and wonder why he's acting the way he is. 

Whatever the reason, Brady felt bad and wanted to apologize. He did radio interviews on both WEEI and Westwood One during the week, but he waited until he was in front of cameras to get the mea culpa out there. 

"A lot of people see it," Brady said of his lashing out at McDaniels, "and they think the nature of our relationship would be something like that. But it's really the exact opposite of that. I just have been feeling bad all week and haven't had a chance to say it. He knows how much I love him."

Brady has long been open about how he believes in playing with emotion so long as it is channeled properly. He echoed those sentiments again Saturday, and he said his entire team will have to steer its emotions in the right way against the Dolphins on Monday night.

"I think you have to play the game with energy, emotion and enthusiasm," Brady said. "Absolutely. It's just directed in a positive way, toward winning and toward what we're trying to accomplish as a team. I have so much trust in the players and so much trust in our coaches and what we're all trying to accomplish. We all want the same thing.

"To go about that in the right way is what matters the most. We're gonna have to have a lot of enthusiasm, and we should because this is a great atmosphere. It means a lot. We're playing for a lot . . . Hopefully, all that energy is directed in the right way towards being the best team we can be, and me playing my best to help us win."

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