Patriots notebook

Welker didn’t come braced for questioning

New England Patriots wide receiver Wes Welker (83) keeps his eyes on the ball on a catch during NFL football practice in Foxborough, Mass., Wednesday Dec. 7, 2011. (AP Photo/Charles Krupa)
Charles Krupa/Associated Press
WES WELKER Wideout had ‘lining’ on wrist

FOXBOROUGH - Wide receiver Wes Welker doesn’t understand why there is so much chatter about his wrist.

Welker was seen wearing something that resembled a brace or sleeve on his right wrist at an event this week, but the receiver said yesterday his wrist is fine.

“I never wore a brace, so I’m not sure where that’s coming from,’’ Welker said. “I don’t know. Whatever they think, they think. I’m just trying to play some ball.’’


When asked if it was a soft cast, Welker said it was just “a little lining.’’

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Welker is listed as probable for tomorrow’s game at Washington with a knee ailment. There was no mention of a wrist problem on the injury report all week.

Vollmer ruled out

Offensive lineman Sebastian Vollmer (back, foot), who has not practiced all week, is out tomorrow. Linebacker Jermaine Cunningham is doubtful with a hamstring injury.

Twelve players are questionable: cornerbacks Kyle Arrington (foot) and Devin McCourty (shoulder), safeties Patrick Chung (foot) and James Ihedigbo (shoulder), linebackers Dane Fletcher (thumb) and Brandon Spikes (knee), offensive linemen Dan Connolly (groin) and Ryan Wendell (calf), wide receivers/defensive backs Julian Edelman (back) and Matthew Slater (shoulder), and running backs Danny Woodhead (abdomen) and Shane Vereen (hamstring).

Offensive lineman Marcus Cannon missed yesterday’s practice for a non-injury related reason and is probable.


For the Redskins, defensive lineman Chris Baker (quadriceps) and safety LaRon Landry (groin) are out. Ten players are probable, including quarterback Rex Grossman (non-throwing shoulder).

Mayo fined $25K

Linebacker Jerod Mayo was fined $25,000 by the NFL for roughing the passer in Sunday’s 31-24 victory over the Colts.

Mayo was not flagged on the play but received the fine because he struck quarterback Dan Orlovsky in the head and neck area, according to a league spokesman.

Speed matters

Bill Belichick’s Friday press conferences tend to take on a lighthearted tone as the Patriots wrap up their game preparation.

Yesterday, Belichick explained why a coach might move a lineman from defense to offense.


“You have a good football player, he’s tough, he’s physical, he’s smart, he uses his hands well, he has good power, he has good balance, but he doesn’t run well, what do you do with him? You make him an offensive lineman,’’ Belichick said. “That’s his last stop. I tell the offensive linemen that, too - ‘If you could run, you’d be on defense.’ Why are you on offense? Because you don’t run well enough to play on defense.

“Most of the time, that’s the truth. The defensive players run better than the offensive players. The offensive players have more skill, ball skills, than the defensive players or more elusiveness.’’

Perhaps that’s why Belichick was a center in his playing days.

“I could not run,’’ he said. “I could not run, that’s right.’’

Support for Hill

Belichick took a few moments to express his support for former Fresno State coach Pat Hill, who was fired Sunday after 15 seasons.

Belichick has known Hill for years (including coaching together in Cleveland) and has signed a few players from Hill’s program.

“Pat, I think has done a tremendous job for that program, that community,’’ Belichick said. “We’ve had a lot of players that have come from his program - James [Sanders] and Logan [Mankins] and [Ryan Wendell] and Moses [Cabrera] in the strength program. They’ve all been great representatives of that program.

“I think he’s always done a really good job with whatever he’s been involved with, whether it’s coaching offensive line or some of the things that he did for me in Cleveland in personnel and tight ends. As a head coach, he’s had a tremendous career and has done a great job of developing players.’’