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Friday, December 7, 2012
Welker stays focused on the present

By Field Yates

FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- It would be easy for Patriots wide receiver Wes Welker to both look back and look ahead in advance of the team's Monday Night Football matchup with the Houston Texans in Week 14.

After all, it was against this team that Welker suffered a major knee injury in the 2009 regular-season finale that kept him out of the playoffs. But Welker isn't looking back on that difficult time.

"I'm really trying not to think about it too much. I appreciate you bringing that up," he joked with a reporter. "I've just moved on from it and just worked hard and tried to get better and luckily I'm where I'm at today."

Amazingly, Welker hasn't lost a step in his game since suffering the major injury, and continues to be the most productive slot receiver in all of football. In fact, with just eight more catches this season, he'll become the first player in NFL history with five seasons of 100 catches or more.

But Welker isn't looking ahead to that milestone, either.

"Maybe when I'm done [playing]," he replied when asked if the record would mean anything to him. "But right now I'm just focused on however many catches I need to win. Whatever that is, is what it is."

Welker may have the advantage on Monday of not facing Texans cornerback Johnathan Joseph, who remains on the mend from a hamstring injury that has kept him out of consecutive games.

He's just one of the banged-up members of Houston's secondary. And though less film is readily available on Joseph's replacements, Welker said he can still gain an understanding of what those players present from a matchup standpoint.

"Yeah, you don't have as much film, but you can still get a good beat on them and really study the games that they are in there," he said. "And really try and get an edge and make sure you're staying on top of everything."

Undoubtedly, Houston is at its best with Joseph on the field.

"He's a playmaker back there," Welker said of Joseph. "He does a great job of -- he's made some good plays, especially on tipped balls and really finding the ball and doing some of those things. He does a great job for them, so we'll just have to wait and see."