What they said

On his wild week, capped off with the 38-24 win over the Bengals: “It was a fun day today, I’ll tell you that. The celebration after the game is what it’s all about. We have a lot of new faces in here, and we’ve been working pretty hard for the entire offseason. Coach said a lot of really meaningful things last night and one of them was, ‘You know guys, this is when we start keeping score. All of the work we’ve put it, this is what ti’s all about.’ So it was good to come out, start really fast. The defense made some really big plays; tow returns for touchdowns, which really sparked us. And then throwing to Wes [Welker] and scoring a couple touchdowns was good, too. Everyone contributed. I think that was the good part about today.”


On Welker scoring the first touchdown: “It was awesome. I spend a lot of time with him this offseason and the determination that he has is pretty remarkable. [He’s an] extremely mentally tough person. I knew in February, as a matter of fact, or March, that he was going to be back out on the field on opening day. It just shows what his mind is all about. He’s really overcome a lot in his career and this thing is only going to make him better.”

On the performance of the Patriots offensive line: “They played great. They really handled . . . that’s a good front, too, with {Robert] Geathers and [Antwan] Odom and the blitz packages they run. I thought we did a good job handling the blitz and I think what happened was that we hit some big plays on the blitz early so it slowed them down a little bit. But it’s a great offensive line. Those two tackles are special players and Steve [Neal], Dan Connolly — the way he stepped in. And [Dan] Koppen has been a rock there for a long time. It’s as good an offensive line as we’ve ever had. We’re going to need it all year. I’ll tell you, that’s what we’re going to need.”


On his eventful Thursday, which began with a car accident and ended with him signing a new four-year contract: “Well, it’s unfortunate what happened Thursday morning. I’m sure a lot of people have been involved in accidents, but it’s a scary thing. But fortunately I was OK. Hopefully the people in the other car are recovering quickly and well. But it was a scary thing for both of us — for both people involved. But of course, I’ve got to come down and get ready for the game and I knew that. I had to be there for my teammates. I called and said I’d be a little bit late and then went out to practice and prepared. It was good. It was good. It was a good week. It was a good week. I’m glad it’s over, but it was a good week.”

On whether he’s bought a new car yet: “I did. I did. I just wanted to get the 2011, so I had to crash the 2010.”

On opening with a victory over the defending AFC North champion Bengals:
“That was a good win for us today. I thought the team did a really good job all around. I’m proud of them. You know, we’re going to New York next week (to face the Jets), and that’s going to be a big challenge for us. So we’re going to enjoy this one for a while.”


On scoring on special teams (Brandon Tate’s 97-yard kick return for a touchdown) and defense (Gary Guyton’s 59-yard return for a TD):: “Two returns for touchdowns. You hope for that, but you can’t go into a game game-planning on that, so to get 14 points like that, a defensive touchdown and a kick return for a touchdown, that’s great.”

On Welker returning from a knee injury suffered in the final week of the 2009 regular season and scoring two touchdowns: “I’m happy for Wes. Happy for the whole team. Happy for everybody. They all played hard, worked hard, had a good week of practice. I thought we made a lot of plays out there. But Wes, we can’t say enough about him. He worked really hard and he had a [big] hand in this team’s success.”

On whether he’s happy with his contract (he followed Randy Moss to the podium):
“As long as we’re winning football games, we’re good to go.”

On what his first touchdown meant to him and whether he kept the ball? (Welker was playing his first game since suffering a major knee injury last January): “Yeah, it was one of those deals where I didn’t expect to lead off the season scoring a touchdown on our first drive. It’s kind of a special deal with all the adversity and everything I’ve had to go through this offseason to get where I at. So to score on the opening drive was definitely a cool thing, so I’ll definitely put that ball in a special spot.”

On his thoughts on Moss’s comments: “I don’t really have any thoughts for you. Randy’s a great teammate and he’s been here — this is his our fourth year now — and obviously he’s been at the top of the game at his position and there’s really nobody that can do what Randy does. It’s pretty much unheard of. So he’s a great player and a great teammate and I’m glad he’s on our team.”

On whether he’s a 100 percent healthy: “No, I still have a ways to go. We’re not all the way there yet. And I still have this stupid knee brace that I hate and can’t to to burn and everything else. But we’re getting there, slowly but surely. At the same, trying to get in some plays and help the team win however I can.”

On whether the injury has changed him: “It’s helped me not take things for granted, really do everything you can to make yourself ready to go out there and play. Do everything possible, no stone unturned. You only get one shot to go out there and play in the National Football League. I just want to make sure I’m giving it everything I’ve got and not take it for granted.”

On how his 45-yard reception, the first catch of his career and the key play on the Patriots’ first drive, developed:
“I had a feeling because when Randy is on a deep route, most likely the safeties and corners are going to run with him and that leaves me alone underneath.”

On the difference in the Patriots performance between the first half, when they built a 24-3 lead, and the second half:
“We’ll see tomorrow. We came out with good energy, played well as a unit. We made the plays we needed to make in the first half. The second half, I don’t really know. I can’t comment until I go in and actually look at the film tomorrow. All in all, for the first game, we came out together and played with a lot of energy and fought and competed. We were physical. We were aggressive. We were everything going into this game that I though. Hats off to my teammates and the coaching staff for putting together the game plan. Once Cincinnati came in, they were riding high and had a right to be. They added some new firepower on their team. But today, I was happy to see the New England Patriots playing how we can play. We saw flashes of how we can play, if we just play together.”

On leaving the field with one second remaining in the first half:
“Coach said he would address that. Coach said he would address that. . . . Coach said he would address that. Guys, how many ways are you going to ask me? I don’t know how many ways I’m going to answer you.”

On the Patriots young secondary: “Yeah, they did what they were supposed to do. Again, we didn’t do what we were supposed to do. They suit up just like we do and, again, it wasn’t so much what they did. It was more or less what we didn’t do.”

On why Chad Ochocinco and Terrell Owens weren’t on the field with one second remaining in the first half:
We had 85 [Chad Ochocinco] go in for an IV, which is kind of normal for him any time we’re on defense. Particularly early in the season. Later in the year we don’t have to do that. But the doctors want to get him and get him out so he’s ready to go at the start of the second half. And Terrell went in to get work done and get looked at and so we had the other guys ready to go. . . He was just getting looked at, and that’s our business.”

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