After Week 2 last year, Wes Welker had 15 catches for 241 yards and 2 touchdowns. After 2 games this year, he has 8 catches for 109 yards and 0 scores. Why has his contribution been so dramatically reduced?
The last person anyone is blaming is Wes Welker. And some of New England's more dunderheaded sports fans have been attributing his lack of catches and lack of playing time to villainous scheming by Bill Belichick. My two favorite theories have been that Belichick doesn't want to pay Welker very much in 2013, so he's limiting Welker's production, thereby reducing his apparent value. The other golden nugget of imbecility is that Belichick is trying to "send a message" to Welker for the receiver's off-season contract negotiations.
People who actually believe such notions should be spayed or neutered in order to remove their faulty DNA from the gene pool and protect the human species from devolving back to simpler primates.
Other players have had contract disputes with the Patriots, then returned to the team, and their playing time didn't change. Why would Belichick start sending such messages now? And the suggestion that Belichick would jeopardize winning, or that Tom Brady would go along with such a change in priority, is laughable.
There are other FOOTBALL RELATED reasons that Welker isn't on the field as often. I think Josh McDaniels had wanted the slot-receiver role to be minimized in general. He wanted the tight-ends, Brandon Lloyd, and the running game to be the spearheads of the offense. That might change after Aaron Hernandez's injury. Welker certainly got more attention in the second half on Sunday.
And to be frank, maybe Welker hasn't earned more playing time than he's gotten. I can't forget his Super Bowl drop. Or his drop in Week 1. Or the drop on Sunday that preceded the blocked punt. He doesn't look as sharp as he did in years past. An maybe he doesn't look sharp in practice either.
Nobody is talking about this. Nobody is attributing the lack of targets or snaps to Wes Welker. I could only bear to listen to a few minutes of sports radio yesterday, but didn't hear Welker's pre-punt-block drop mentioned once. He had a chance to make a big 1st down play, and he failed. All 10 fingers touched the ball.
I don't pretend to know why Bill Belichick or his assistants do what they do. I try to come up with possible explanations that make logical sense. There is a complete lack of logic behind some of these Welker theories. To me it seems impossible that Welker's lack of targets/snaps is anything more than a football decision. You might not think it's a smart decision, but don't conjure harebrained theories about contracts or messages.