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SportsColumnistsBob Glauber

NFL Insider: Jeff Demps a solid move for Patriots

Florida running back Jeff Demps carries against Florida

Florida running back Jeff Demps carries against Florida Atlantic during an NCAA college football game in Gainesville, Fla. The New England Patriots have reportedly agreed to terms with Olympic silver medalist Demps, who played at Florida but was not drafted by an NFL team. Photo Credit: AP, 2011

The Jets and Buccaneers were among several teams interested in former U.S. Olympic sprinter Jeff Demps, but it was the AFC champion Patriots that Demps selected. It's a win-win for both sides. The Patriots get a speedster for the return game -- Demps averaged 30 yards per kickoff return at Florida -- and a solid backup to running backs Stevan Ridley and Shane Vereen.

Demps was on the United States' silver medal 4x100-relay team in the London Olympics, and is the only Florida athlete to win a national championship in two sports: football and track.

Welker: Time to move on

It is a play Wes Welker won't soon forget, a costly drop in the Patriots' 21-17 loss to the Giants in Super Bowl XLVI. As the Patriots were driving in the fourth quarter, Welker was open over the middle on 2nd and 11 from the Giants' 44, but he dropped Tom Brady's pass.

"Most critical situation, and I let the team down," Welker said afterward.

But Welker isn't using the Super Bowl loss as motivation for the upcoming season. "You just have to move on," he said. "You can't get too wrapped up in any of that stuff, so you move on and do the best you can the next time."

Welker is coming off a brilliant season, in which he gained a career high 1,569 receiving yards on 122 catches. He'd hoped to sign a multi-year contract in the off-season, but wound up being designated the team's franchise player. He's playing on a one-year tender worth $9.5 million.

Bitter about not getting a long-term deal? Nope.

"You can't let that get in the way of something you love to do," Welker said of his contract. "I'm very happy with the situation I'm in."

Armed and dangerous

There have been questions about the arm strength of Bengals second-year quarterback Andy Dalton, but he seemed to answer them with a three-touchdown performance in a 24-19 win over the Falcons on Thursday. One of those scores was a 50-yard pass play to wide receiver A.J. Green.

Said Dalton: "My arm feels great, and you can tell everybody that it's not even close to what I've got if I need it."

We like this guy.

Tough call

Cardinals quarterback Kevin Kolb was sacked for a safety Friday night by Oakland's Tommy Kelly, who said Kolb "is scared back there. Anytime anybody gets close to him he starts looking at the refs. As a defensive lineman you love a quarterback like that."

Kolb responded by calling Kelly "clueless," adding "I don't mind people criticizing my play. Don't ever question my toughness."

Kolb is battling Fordham product John Skelton for the Arizona starting job.

A step back for Tannehill

Dolphins first-year coach Joe Philbin had hoped to name his starting quarterback this week, but it may not happen.

"I don't know that, to be honest with you," Philbin said after Friday night's 23-17 loss to the Panthers in Carolina.

The hope for Philbin was to see rookie Ryan Tannehill end the competition with a strong showing against the Panthers but it didn't happen. Tannenhill, who played the entire first half, was 11 of 23 for 100 yards and a 60.1 rating. Miami went three-and-out in four of Tannehill's six drives and punted five times.

Now Philbin must choose among Tannehill, incumbent Matt Moore or David Garrard, who is out for the remainder of training camp with a knee problem.

Good work from Gerhart

As the Vikings patiently await the return to game action of running back Adrian Peterson, who is coming off reconstructive knee surgery, Toby Gerhart has enjoyed a solid preseason.

"It feels good to get out here and show what I can do," Gerhart said after carrying the ball six times for 30 yards against the Bills on Friday night. "I think the last two games I've done OK to show that I can carry the load if need be." Gerhart, a 231-pound power runner, had five carries for 31 yards last week against the 49ers.

Quick hits

- Still too soon to know if Blaine Gabbert is ready to take the next step after a difficult rookie season, but he has looked sharp so far in preseason. He completed 13 of 16 passes with two touchdowns against the Saints on Friday.

- Titans coach Mike Munchak can't be comfortable with his quarterback situation. He's hoping Jake Locker can be a starter, but Locker has not looked good so far. Latest example: He went 4 of 11 for 21 yards, no TDs and an interception against the Buccaneers on Friday.

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