Brady was asked if he was on board with Edelman playing ahead of Welker. After an extended pregnant pause, Brady said: “That’s always Coach’s decision, who’s out there. That’s not really my decision.”
Brady didn’t hold back when asked about Welker breaking Brown’s record.
“He’s a phenomenal player and when he makes plays, it really sparks our whole offense and he made a bunch of them today,” Brady said. “That’s what we need.”
Edelman was asked if it makes things awkward in the receivers room that he’s getting Welker’s snaps.
“You know, we just all come in here and, speaking for myself, do what the coaches tell us to do,” he said. “Whatever that is, that is. I’m here to contribute to the team and if that’s getting snaps, if that’s playing special teams, it’s whatever they say. All I’m going to do is take the coaching and try to contribute to this team.”
So now that we know Welker took a seat on the bench for Edelman the first two weeks, the big question is why?
Maybe Welker is dealing with an undisclosed injury. League sources said that is not the case. And if he was dealing with some sort of lingering concussion, does 20 plays really make a difference? Welker denied health is a factor.
“No, I feel great,” he said.
Maybe the Patriots think Edelman is better than Welker. That’s certainly a decision that Belichick is entitled to make. Maybe the Super Bowl play is still fresh in the mind of Belichick. A drop in Tennessee didn’t help. And Welker also dropped a big third-down play against the Cardinals that preceded a blocked punt that set up a touchdown that gave Arizona a 13-9 lead in the third quarter.
Maybe the Patriots know Welker is gone after this season, so they’ve decided to use the early part of the season to see what they have in Edelman, who is also a free agent after this season.
If the Patriots like what they see, perhaps they would be open to trading Welker before the deadline on Oct. 30. They’ve done it before (Randy Moss). The Patriots can get something for Welker now and determine what team he winds up with. If the team waits until after the season and doesn’t tag-and-trade him, Welker would be free to sign with any team, including those in the AFC East, and the Patriots would get a compensatory pick in 2014.
Those reasons, even though many won’t agree with them, are legitimate.
The other possibility is not.
The Patriots could either be punishing Welker for not accepting the team’s offer of a contract extension, and/or trying to hold his production level down so he won’t draw a big contract on the free agent market. That would increase the team’s chances of retaining him.
To do that to a player who has done everything asked of him and more, including playing at well less than 100 percent in 2010 after ACL surgery, would be beyond vicious and vindictive.
So let’s not even go there.
In the wake of Hernandez’s injury, we might not have to. We’ll have to wait and see how things play out.
The Patriots tried to phase Welker out, but now they likely need him. It’s funny how things work out like that.
Maybe we’ll end up having that celebration for Welker after all.