In a song, recording artist Jay-Z rapped “It’s funny what seven days can change.” In Wes Welker‘s case, 14 days may be more suited for his situation. Two weeks into the season, there was speculation that the New England Patriots were straying away from Welker being the main option on the team. That they were planning to trade the Pro Bowl receiver. That they were grooming Julian Edelman to be his replacement when they don’t re-sign Welker at the end of his franchise players’ deal.
The first two weeks Welker played in 106 of the 149 offensive snaps. Playing 71% of the snaps cause a murmur of the previous accusations after Welker played in 89.2% of the offensive snaps during the 2011 season. The team was 1-1. After Aaron Hernandez and Edelman, whom have looked like Brady’s two most comfortable receivers this year, went down with injuries, Welker’s play went up and he easily reminded us why he’s been the face of this offense sans Tom Brady since his arrival in 2007.
In the last two weeks, Wes has played in 146 of the 159 offensive snaps. Last week against the Buffalo Bills, despite a costly fumble, Welker exploded for 129 yards on nine receptions. He and Brady looked like the did last year: chemistry on par and production to go with it.
It’s normal for the media to jump to conclusions as the NFL is a league that can simply be judged on a week to week basis, but if you’re judging by the last two weeks, it may be premature to say Wes Welker is back while Edelman and Hernandez are out, but things are beginning to get back to normal for New England’s offense. It’s also clear that when Welker is productive, he opens it up for the rest of the team. Stevan Ridley and Brandon Bolden exploded for 200-plus combined rushing yards, Brandon Lloyd got going as the game went on and Rob Gronkowski had one of his better games this season.
Hopefully Offensive Coordinator Josh McDaniels is playing attention and plans to base more of the offense off of Welker and work from there as they prepare on taking on Peyton Manning and the 13th-ranked pass defense Denver Broncos.