Patriots wide receiver Wes Welker addresses the media during his press conference at Gillette Stadium, on Thursday, January 13, 2011.
Q: How valuable is it to have a guy like Tom Brady standing in the huddle, especially in the intense situations of the playoff atmosphere?
WW: Having Tom in there - it goes without saying, the guy is who he is and he does a great job of making sure everyone is on the same page and putting their best foot forward going out there and playing well and doing what they can out there.
Q: How do you approach the young guys about what to expect in the post season?
WW: You just talk to them. It's a playoff atmosphere and you can't just stick your toe in the water, you've got to jump right in and make sure you're ready to go and make things happen. In a playoff atmosphere that's what you have to do.
Q: Do you try to convey a sense of urgency with the younger players? If something comes up during the game - they have to take advantage of that opportunity because they may not get another one...
WW: Absolutely. Every play is so critical and that is something that we talk about quite a bit. Going out there and in every single play if there is a bust or a mental error - it could cost you the game and that is something that we have to stay on top of and make sure that we are doing everything possible to be ready to go on every single play.
Q: I know you are excited to play football every game no matter what the situation is but considering last year when you were forced to sit and watch the playoff game, is there a little bit more excitement for you because you are getting back in the playoffs?
WW: It is definitely a little bit different especially [last year] I had my foot up in the air trying to get the swelling to go down and things like that. [I'm] definitely excited about getting the opportunity to go out there and have some fun and get in the playoff atmosphere. This is what it's all about. This is where you want to get to. This being my seventh year in the league now, and understanding what this means and how rare of an opportunity it is - [we've] got to make sure we take full advantage of it.
Q: How frustrating was it to not be on the field last year? You haven't played a playoff game since Glendale in 2007. How did it feel not being out there last year?
WW: It was tough. It was definitely hard to watch, especially the way the game went. I am definitely excited to be out there and these are the types of games you play for. This is what you spend all year getting ready for and you want to go out there and put your best foot forward.
Q: Where were you physically last year for the Baltimore game?
WW: Where was I physically?
Q: Were you on the field, at home or in a box?
WW: I was actually in the box. Yeah, I was up there watching the game.
Q: Can you put a number on how much Darrelle Revis was covering you on the Dec. 6th game? It seemed significantly more than the first game.
WW: It was definitely a little more. I don't really know a number. It was quite a bit, especially any time they did any sort of man coverages and things like that. It seemed to be a lot more, so you've got to be ready for everything and study film on everybody, and make sure you are definitely ready for him and you've got to bring it every play because he is a great player. He's got great feet, he moves around well and [he] does some good things out there.
Q: A lot of the defensive players have been talking this week about what you guys needed physically to move forward after the Cleveland game. Offensively how have you guys grown as a unit since that Cleveland game?
WW: I think we have had some younger players really step-up this year. Over the year that has been how it goes - guys start to mature, start to understand things, start to understand what the coaches want, and get more comfortable in what they're doing. That's huge - having some of the younger guys do that throughout this season and that's big. They really have grown a lot and I think it has really helped our offense.
Q: What makes Revis as good as he is?
WW: I think he is very patient. He has good feet. He moves around really well. He understands the game. He gets his hands on you pretty well. [He] understands what you're trying to do to him, so he definitely is a tough guy to really set up and get open against. You've got to be on top of your game and make sure that you're doing everything possible to get open.
Q: From what you've seen from Aaron [Hernandez] and Rob [Gronkowski] in practice and obviously in the games are they not typical rookies and for that reason, are they going to have no problem handling the playoff pressure?
WW: I think being as young as they are, I don't think they really don't understand the significance of this game which is sometimes a good thing. They just go out there and play ball and [they] know what they know. They play hard and play well and I think that will be good for them. I know they are going to go out there and give it everything they've got and that's something that they've done all year. That is something that won't change this week, so we are definitely excited to have them be apart of our team and [we're] excited to have them go out there and make some plays in a critical game.
Q: Isn't that what veterans strive for too? To just go out there and play a game even if it's a championship game, as if it's a regular season game to keep on an even-keel?
WW: In a way, yeah, but it's different still. It's the playoffs and this is what you strive for. This is what you work all season for - to get this opportunity and to get this chance and you've got to take full advantage of it.
Q: What has Deion Branch brought to the offense?
WW: Deion is such a great player and such a great teammate. The guy is tough to cover. He does a lot of great things out there - he runs some really good routes. Tom [Brady] trusts him and they are kind of on the same page. He is another guy with great feet and he can really move around and do some great things out there.
Q: You guys were on such an impressive role heading into the last 5 - 6 weeks of the season, how do you guys feel you will handle the bye week, are you afraid that you have lost any momentum at all?
WW: To be honest with you, I feel like our practices have almost simulated a game as well as we could have. We really got after it during the bye week and even this week of really concentrating and practicing hard and making sure that every play, even in practice... you never know when you will get the chance to run it again before the game, so you want to make sure that you are putting your best foot forward out there and making it happen.
Q: How does the playoff atmosphere translate to practices this week of preparation, do you sense it?
WW: Yeah, absolutely. [We're] really moving forward and we're going out there being good little foot soldiers. We are making sure we are going out there doing everything coach [Belichick] asks us to do: making plays and doing everything necessary to get ready for the game.
Q: You've been on both sides of blow-out games in your career. Who does it help motivate more, when you've been blown- out or when you've been on the team that did the blowing out?
WW: I don't know. I think at this point in the year, its playoffs and you understand that even though it ended up being a blow-out last game, one or two plays here and there and it could have been a different ball game so, you've got to make sure you are bringing it every single week, especially this time of year. You've got to bring it every single play and make sure you are putting yourself in the best opportunity to win. The last game doesn't really mean anything and it's all about moving forward and what we do this week.
Q: Is communication a big factor this week with all of the Jets blitz packages? You've really got to focus and be alert and make sure everyone is on the same page.
WW: You definitely have to make sure you are on top of things. Especially with this team, they do so many different things. [They] move people around and do a lot of blitzes. A lot of teams you don't see all year, so you definitely have to be on your toes and make sure that you're ready to go. You've got to make sure you are putting everything out there that you need to, to be ready to go but communication is definitely a huge thing.