|ESPN.com: AFC East||[Print without images]|
|Wes Welker had two catches for 20 yards in his return to action Thursday night.|
"He has to be able to play without thinking about the knee. That requires a level of confidence the knee's going to respond, going to do what you want it to do, going to hold up. That was getting over a hurdle. It's not just a scrimmage against the Saints, where players are being somewhat careful. It was a game situation. That just takes it up a notch. When he comes off the field, he can say 'OK. Now I did that.' It helps build that confidence with a piece that was missing.
"But people think it's a big deal that he took a hit. His injury was non-contact. I don't think Wes Welker's particularly worried about taking hits. I think it's more getting out and being in a competitive situation. What he told me was 'I need to know that I can make that move that I made before and have my knee hold up.' That's just getting out there and doing what Wes Welker does: make a catch underneath, make some kind of move to get away from a defender and get yards after the catch. That means a quick maneuver, a sharp cut, a slashing movement.
"I wouldn't jump to the conclusion he's automatically on the field Week 1. But I think it's a good indicator. Even if he does play, I still think they'll be conservative how they use him. This is a gradual process. I don't think you're going to see 'OK, go' and he's in the whole game. The more successes he has, the more they'll use him."