http://www.projo.com/patriots/content/20111007-patriots-molden-ihedigb_10-07-11_PAQ.2ebd408.html FOXBORO When the NFL settled its labor issues and the players returned to work in July, Antwaun Molden was a member of the Houston Texans, a fourth-year cornerback fighting for a roster spot. James Ihedigbo, who had been a special teams standout for the Jets for four years, was a free agent looking for a job. Thomas Welch spent the last three seasons on the Patriots and Vikings practice squads after being drafted by New England in the seventh round in 2008. He was out of a job, then brought back by New England in early September. He was promoted to the active roster, cut two days later and re-signed for the practice squad. Finally, just a few days ago, he was promoted to the active roster. Ask a Patriot fan about any of them two weeks ago, and only the most knowledgeable of fans would know about any of them. After the victory in Oakland Sunday, though, a true Pats fans should know all three. All three saw their most extensive action ever against the Raiders and were part of an effort that brought the Patriots their 31-19 victory. Injuries forced them into action. And all three stepped up. All are now preparing for the visit by the Jets on Sunday as contributing members of the New England rotation. It feels good, Molden said. I love the game of football. This is a good team. They brought me in for a reason. I want to do my job. I like playing football. I like to contribute. Molden was on the field for nearly 30 plays in the victory over the Raiders. Like Welch and Idedigbo, he got his chance because others were hurt. The Eastern Kentucky grad does not hide his excitement. Im getting acclimated to the area, to the system here. Im feeling good, he said. Most definitely this is a great organization. Im just happy to be part of it. I want to do my job and help any way I can. Ihedigbo, a UMass grad, is an interesting story. Both his parents both have doctorates and moved here from Africa. Ihedigbo grew up near UMass and has used his athleticism to build his career. He was a special teams player for the Jets and is doing the same thing with the Patriots. He and Matthew Slater are the only Patriots playing on all four of New Englands special teams. Because of injuries, Ihedigbo also is seeing time at safety. He knows the Jets-Pats rivalry from both sides. He can testify better than almost anyone about the difference between Rex Ryan and Bill Belichick. In philosophies, theyre two different coaches, Ihedigbo said. Rex will be Rex and Bill will be Bill. Theyre both successful in their own ways. Welch has been bouncing around for two years, always on the edge, on practice squads. Against Oakland, the Pats had only one tight end active, Rob Gronkowski. Welch, who spent some time as a tight end at Vanderbilt (after playing quarterback in high school) was activated and pressed into regular duty as a blocking tight end while wearing number 66. I played some tight end in college, but its been at least four years (since he did so), Welch said. Mostly I was just blocking, so its pretty similar to O-line. But going in motion, I had to remember how to do that a little bit. I had to dig into the memory bank little bit. He is still catching up with everything that has happened to him. Its been a crazy couple of weeks, he said. Im glad Im here and whatever they need me to do, Im going to do. . . They said they needed someone to come in, throw some blocks. Obviously, we have some people down, so they told me to be ready and I was. Ihedigbo, Welch and Molden are examples on how teams have to make adjustments as the season rolls along. Offensive coordinator Bill OBrien spoke about it the other day. On game day, you know you have 46 guys on a roster. Like Bill [Belichick] always says, Youre trying to make use of everybody, and each guy on the team has a different role. Some roles are bigger, some roles are not quite as big, but each is hugely important, OBrien said.