In the Patriots' locker room today, receiver Wes Welker talked about his health, his return from reconstructive knee surgery, and a Jets team that he torched for 15 catches and 192 yards in the teams' second meeting last year.
Welker had a team-high eight catches and scored two touchdowns against the Bengals in the 38-24 Week 1 victory, which came roughly eight months after he tore ligaments in his left knee. And while he's pleased with the progress that allowed him to get back on the field so quickly, he'd like to lose the cumbersome knee brace.
"We'll see where we're at, I'm definitely ready to get rid of it," Welker said. "But at the same time we're gonna be cautious with it. It's a pretty bulky type knee brace, but I'm able to do what I need to do out there, and hopefully soon we'll get it off. I'd like to be without it at some point."
Welker declined to specify how close to 100 percent he is after his first game back.
"I don't know if I can really put a number on it," Welker said. "It takes a full year until I'm me again, is what they say. I'm just trying to take it a day at a time and do what I can with what I've got right now."
With the numbers he put up against the Bengals -- and the Jets last year -- it's obvious that Welker is going to be a defensive focus, with Rex Ryan calling him a match-up nightmare. Welker, at least publicly, doesn't agree with Ryan, especially when asked if he's the toughest receiver in the NFL to cover.
"Uh, I wouldn't go that far, no," Welker said. "I just go out there and try to do my job, try to get open, but I wouldn't consider myself the biggest matchup problem for anybody, no."