Patriots wide receiver Wes Welker injured his neck late in the first half of Saturday's preseason game vs. the Lions making a tackle on an interception thrown by Tom Brady. Welker dipped his head and tackled Ricardo Silva, bringing him to the turf at the Patriots' 46. Adding to the violent nature of the play was Welker slamming his head off the field turf at Ford Field. 

Welker walked off the field by himself before getting examined by Patriots trainers and medical staffers. 

And so, here we are. The third game of the preseason is the dress rehearsal. It’s historically the final chance for the starters to show they’re ready for the regular season before the season opener.

Sports Illustrated NFL writer Peter King made his weekly appearance on the Mut & Merloni show Friday to talk about the Patriots and other NFL news.

Most of the talk in the preseason in Foxboro has centered around the Pats' revamped defensive line. King said the key player might be one who isn't getting as much attention.

Heath Evans, the former Patriots fullback who this week announced his retirement from the NFL and a new job with the NFL Network, joined the Dennis & Callahan show Friday morning.

Evans spent the last two seasons with the Saints after leaving New England. He has fond memories of his days in Foxboro, even if that time didn't help prepare him for his new role in the broadcasting booth.

“I played for Bill Belichick for four years,” Evans said. “Do you think it was an easy job giving good interviews and good speeches?”

FOXBORO — For all the talk about the Patriots’ renewed commitment to an aggressive pass rush this season, arguably their best and most consistent pass rusher over the last two seasons hasn’t seen action in New England’s first two preseason games.

FOXBORO -- In a sign that he might be able to make his Patriots debut Saturday night in Detroit, Albert Haynesworth practiced for the for the third straight day as the team worked out in shorts and shells outside Gillette Stadium on Thursday. 

But while Haynesworth, Matt Light and Shaun Ellis are all candidates to make their preseason debut Saturday, the same 14 players who missed practice on Wednesday were again absent Thursday. 

FOXBORO -- The hostility between the Jets and the Patriots softened a bit on Thursday when Bill Belichick sounded a gracious tone when responding to Rex Ryan's gushing compliment of the Patriots coach on Wednesday. 

Ryan told the NFL Network's Michael Irvin that "Bill Belichick is the best coach in this game; I don't even think it's close."  

Belichick responded on Thursday.

FOXBORO — Everyone wants stability. Everyone is striving for permanence.

In an interview set to run Wednesday night on the NFL Network, Jets coach Rex Ryan talked about Patriots coach Bill Belichick and called him the "best coach in the game."

"I can put my resume out there, stats, with anybody's who's ever coached in this league. That's a fact. Defensively, that's a fact. But I don't need any credit. I just want to win. I want what Bill Belichick's got," Ryan said.

Buccaneers linebacker Mason Foster was fined $20,000 for a hit on Patriots wide receiver Chad Ochocinco in a preseason game last Thursday, according to a Tampa television station.