For a small guy, Wes Welker's pretty tough. Particularly on himself.
In his Patriots debut Friday night, one play stood out for Welker, but for all the wrong reasons. Needing at least four yards for a first down, Welker caught Tom Brady's thrid-down pass just two yards down field.
"That was the one play I was most disappointed in with myself," Welker explained in today's* Boston Globe*. "It was just a bad route on my bad part. It's something we work on all the time. You do it right in practice, and then you get out into the game and you screw it up. It's a learning process. I have to make sure I get my depth [on the route]."
He's also miffed at himself for missing a block that resulted in a two-yard loss for running back Sammy Morris. For now, though, he's just glad his first-game jitters are over.
"It's stuff you have to work through and get rid of, and get ready to go."
Plus, after signing a mulit-year contract in the offseason, Welker's spot on the roster remains as secure as you can get on this team.
Meanwhile, the competition at wideout remains a dead heat.
Reserves Reche Caldwell, Jabar Gaffney, and Kelley Washington each performed well against Tampa Bay last week.
"You can only control your effort, your determination, what you put on film, what do you do out here in practice," Washington said in a Boston Herald feature. "Everything else you leave up to the personnel department and the organization. You can't worry about everything else that comes with making the team, what your role's going to be. You have to worry about how you perform."
Sammy Morris opened his Patriots career with a nice performance, getting into the end zone for New England's only touchdown of the evening.
"Down there, I think it's a different mentality," Morris said. "It's crunch time, and you try to shoot for six. And that's my mentality: Do what I have to do to get in the end zone."
He realizes he'll be keeping the starting spot warm for Laurence Maroney, but Morris, an 8-year NFL vet, says he is OK with that. Right now, he's just focused on learning the Pats offense.
"I'm getting better the more we put in, trying to keep the other things we worked in, making all that second nature and, at the same time, trying to learn some of the newer stuff," Morris told the MetroWest Daily News. "I'm feeling pretty comfortable and I'm liking the way we're looking as a unit, as well."