Re: This Welker BS has to stop!!
posted at 9/17/2012 1:36 PM EDT
To say there is nothing at work here is ignoring the obvious.
Impossible to say if this has something to do with minor injuries or disciplinary action or some perceived fall off, but the fact remains that Welker led the league in catches last year with 122 and has avergaed about 111 during his time here. That's a lot of catches. He makes 9 million a year and there is a well publicized issue regarding his contract status.
Edelman is a barely used receiver who had 11 catches over the past two seasons. He has become known only because he played some d-back, is an ex college quarterback, returns punts, and plays on other special teams, and is white.
In his limited time on the field edelman has dropped too many easy passes and it was obvious neither Brady nor the coaching staff had much confidence in him as a receiver. Nothing special on a team like this. Not an easy place to get consistent time as a younger player.
Welker on the other hand has been a pro bowl caliber player and Brady's go to guy since his arrival here.
With that said, Welker is right there in league leading number of drops the past few years, as are many of the guys who are targeted the most and wind up with the most catches (Larry Fitzgerald is a huge exception). Welker finished 45th in best catch percentage and had a league leading 14 drops in 2011. For the last three years he is second in the number of drops (32) behind Brandon marshall (35). As an aside, Welker was not in the bottom fifteen in percentage from 08-10, though Randy Moss (26 drops) and terrell Owens were. Also, Deion Branch and Jabbar Gafney were both in the top 15 for best percentages during that time.
Not sure that any of this proves anything and obviously there are other factors involved in the position (route running, separation ability, blocking, etc.), but I will say that there have been times when the Patriots have seemed intent to make moves based on outside factors and long term strategic planning at the expense of a current teams' roster and success in the short term. Now, it's almost impossible to argue with this thinking in theory, and with their overall success as a franchise in the past decade, though there is also something to be said for simply getting another ring. Before, there was a possibility of them getting two more before Brady retired, but it's looking more and more like they better do what they can to get one more. The window gets smaller as every year passes and Brady gets closer to finishing his career. The possibility of another franchise quarterback walking through the door after that is probably pretty slim.
One thing is for sure - with Hernandez out (and no other legit WRs currently on the roster) we're going to see a lot of these two and there'll be plenty of opportunity to evaluate them both. I for one think edelman can help this team and have advocated some more playing time for him since last season, though I did not anticipate it coming at the expense of Welker being on the field, not starting etc. Will be interesting to see how this plays out - usually with this team where there is smoke there is fire and at the very least this would not seem to bode well for Welker's future here.