Up against these Fish, Welker is the catch of the day
He has thrived vs. former team
FOXBOROUGH — When Tom Brady told the South Florida media in his conference call Wednesday that Wes Welker was “as good as they come’’ and “a great player for us’’ and that “I’m lucky to have him on our team,’’ the Patriots quarterback wasn’t exaggerating.
Because when it comes to playing the Dolphins, especially in Miami, Welker is something of a fish shredder.
Since coming to the Patriots from Miami in 2007 for second- and seventh-round picks in that year’s draft, Welker has made the Dolphins rue that transaction.
In three road games against the Dolphins, Welker has made 27 catches for 425 yards and a pair of touchdowns. In his previous visit to Land Shark Stadium (now Sun Life Stadium), Welker made 10 grabs for 167 yards; only problem was, it came in a 21-20 loss.
“It’s always great to go back to Miami and get to play at a place I was at for three years,’’ said Welker. “I enjoyed my time there and everything like that, so it’s always good to go back and see some familiar faces, although they’re not so familiar anymore.’’
Welker’s return will be even more meaningful, since it comes in an important division game, with the loser dropping to 2-2 overall and 1-2 in the AFC East, both having lost to the Jets. And there may be an added sense of urgency with the Patriots headed to a bye week.
“Division records are huge, especially in our division, because we have a really tough one,’’ Welker said. “We want to make sure that we’re going out there and getting all the wins that we can get, especially going into the bye week, so this will definitely be a big game for us.’’
In Miami, they usually are for Welker.
A week after being a Jet castaway, Woodhead became a beloved figure in Foxborough when he made his first NFL start at running back and scored his first touchdown on a 22-yard scamper in the second quarter.
Asked yesterday whether he did anything special with the ball, Woodhead smiled and shrugged.
“Nah, not really,’’ he said. “I was just excited that we were able to score. Not necessarily that it was me, but that we got the score.’’
And that, in a nutshell, is why Patriots fans have embraced the 5-foot-9-inch, 185-pounder from Division 2 Chadron State, where he was a two-time Harlon Hill Trophy winner as the best player in his division.
But Woodhead has remained grounded.
“Honestly, that’s not something I worry about or think about,’’ he said of his growing popularity. “But I think that’s probably more for you guys or everyone else.
“What I try to think about is what’s at hand and what’s coming up, and that’s the Miami Dolphins. My concentration is on working as hard as I can in the meeting rooms, the practice field, or whatever.’’
Michael Vega can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.