Here’s another Award that could go to about a dozen different people. The Pats are the best team in the NFL, and may just be the best team ever.
Here are the nominees:
Tom Brady - Quarterback
Randy Moss - Wide Receiver
Wes Welker - Wide Receiver
Logan Mankins - Guard
Kevin Faulk - Runningback
Vince Wilfork - Defensive Tackle
Ty Warren - Defensive End
Mike Vrabel - Linebacker
Asante Samuel - Cornerback
And the winner is…
Yes, Brady and Moss have the numbers, the records, and the highlights. In fact, Welker isn’t even going to the Pro Bowl. But the player who has impressed me the most on the Patriots has been Welker.
He was a workhorse. He got the couple yards here and there that kept drives alive, and set-up the big downfield plays to Moss. Welker had 112 catches, surpassing Troy Brown’s club record of 101. Wes was a lot like Deion Branch in terms of dependability. Of his 112 catches, 65 were for first downs.
He was a diversion. Defenses couldn’t put all of their focus on Moss going down the sidelines because Welker would be lurking underneath and exploit deep coverage for a big gain after the catch.
He was a slippery SOB. I could count on one hand how many times the first attempted tackler took Welker down. He seemed to get an extra 3 yards on every play, sometimes getting 10 or 15 bonus yards.
He did everything. He rushed the ball 4 times this season, breaking one of those for 27 yards. He returned 7 kickoffs for 176 yards, or a 25.1 average. He returned 25 punts for 249 yards. Although he never returned one all the way, his 10 yard return average always gave the Patriots a nice boost to start their offensive onslaught. And in a pinch, he could have replaced Gostkowski as the place kicker.
He did everything he was asked to do, and did it well. He had good numbers and was Brady's most dependable option.