Found September 11, 2012 on Boston's Bettah:
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Wes Welker had a slow day Sunday, but it shouldn’t be a sign of things to come After a summer of fighting and clawing for a contract extension from the New England Patriots after they assigned the franchise tag to him, Wes Welker was a huge disappointment for the Patriots in their week one victory. His final tally in the box-score was 3 catches for 14 yards including a drop on the Patriots’ first drive of the game. Suddenly, the Patriots model of consistency since 2007 is having his abilities and role questioned. Maybe the Patriots were correct in their analysis to not offer Wes Welker a long-term contract extension, that the receiver who turned thirty-one in May was finally losing his abilities. Perhaps the Patriots were getting ready to move on from the Wes Welker era and were starting to phase him out of the offense, trying out guys like Aaron Hernandez and Julien Edleman in the slot instead of focusing on Wes Welker. Or maybe the Patriots, as usual, are just screwing with us. It seems that a lot of people seem to forget but back before 2007, wide-receivers making ten catches a game in the Patriots offense was rare. Patriots quarterback Tom Brady was the king of throwing to whoever was open. In fact, Tom Brady was once quoted as saying his favorite receiver was the “open one”. On Sunday, the New England Patriots played that game-plan to perfection. No Patriots receiving target had more than six catches and three had more than five. If the Patriots are planning on throwing to whoever is open, they wouldn’t be freezing out or phasing Wes Welker out. He just wasn’t the open guy. By no fault of his own, mind you. Sure, he should have certainly caught his first quarter target, but all game long the Tennessee Titans were mindful of Wes Welker and tried to prevent him from getting open over the middle of the field and Wes Welker has been adept at doing over his career. This wouldn’t be the first time that teams have played to take away Welker. In fact, last year there were three games when Welker had five or less catches making him quite possibly the smallest decoy ever. Teams are afraid of Wes Welker and work on taking him away. The Titans did this, but the Patriots responded correctly and found the other receivers. There has also been a lot written about the number of snaps that Welker took when compared to Julian Edleman, the alleged “New Slot Reciever” that the Patriots are phasing Welker out for. Welker played 43 snaps and Edleman played 23 snaps. Not only did Welker still play more snaps, but they were also on the field at the same time on multiple plays. If the Patriots were trying to replace Edleman with Welker, they wouldn’t put them on the field at the same time. It just wouldn’t make sense. Finally, the Patriots had the game secured early on in the game meaning that they were throwing the ball less and giving it to Stevan Ridley to secure the game. This will sound stupid, but when the Patriots are running the ball, it means they aren’t throwing the ball which means that Wes Welker can’t make any receptions. It just is simple football science. Will Welker’s stats go down in 2012? Probably considering that Welker is on the wrong side of thirty, but thinking that the Patriots will phase out Welker to make him cheaper on the market is dumb. Welker is still one of the most important players on the Patriots if only because defenses have to respect him. I wouldn’t worry about Sunday though. If week one showed us anything is that the Patriots will attack opposing defenses where they fail to defend. Week one, the Titans defended Welker. If the Cardinals decide to focus on Gronkowski or Hernandez, expect Welker to have a big game.
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