HOUSTON –- Sound bites from the Patriots’ locker room and press conferences:
1. Cornerback Shawn Springs on the likely loss of Wes Welker: “That hurts. It’s no secret around the whole NFL how important Wes is to us. My prayers are with him, because I know Wes is one of those guys who wants to be out there all the time. We are going to miss him.”
2. Bill Belichick on the team’s approach: “Right now, we put this game behind us and we come in on Tuesday and get ready for whoever we play next. We’ve worked all year to be in this position, the playoffs. We’re looking forward to getting started on Tuesday with whoever that opponent is going to be.”
3. Belichick repeated three times that he didn’t have any update on Welker’s condition (ESPN NFL Insider Adam Schefter is reporting that initial tests show ACL and MCL tears).
4. Belichick said there was no set plan for his substitutions, which were unconventional at quarterback. As for why backup Brian Hoyer came in for the final two drives of the first half and the final drive of the game, Belichick said it was a chance to get him situational work.
5. Tight end Benjamin Watson on the team recovering from the presumed loss of Welker: “That’s football. Guys go down all the time, on our team, on other teams. It sucks and it’s unfortunate but it’s part of the game. When you are a team, you have 10 other guys and when one guy goes down, somebody else fills right in and the train keeps moving. That’s what we’re going to try to do.”
6. Adalius Thomas on the team’s confidence: “We’ve been going through that all year –- people up, people down. Will we miss [Welker]? Yes we will. But the guys behind him have to step up and make plays.”
7. Running back Fred Taylor on his lost fumble that was recovered for a touchdown in the second quarter: “I was a little careless with the ball. I have to be a little better with it.”
8. Hoyer, who held a press conference in place of Brady (who declined), on his thoughts on Julian Edelman: “I think Julian stepped up and played well. He’s a tough guy. He’s going to fight for every yard. I think that’s what you saw out there today.”
9. Hoyer on comparisons between Edelman and Welker: “I think people have been comparing him to Wes for a long time, but I think Julian is his own player.”
10. Several players were asked about the condition of the playing surface, part of which was replaced after the Texas Bowl was played at Reliant Stadium Dec. 31. “It was a soft field, but both teams were playing on the same surface,” said rookie cornerback Darius Butler.