McDaniels says game plan reduced Welker’s role

AP

On Monday, we made mention of the sharp decline in playing time for Patriots wide receiver Wes Welker.

There wasn’t any health reason for Welker to see about 25 percent less snaps than he saw on average last season, leading us to wonder if this was a sign of an overall shift in the Patriots’ offense or just a result of their specific game plan for the Titans. Offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels got asked that question during a Tuesday conference call and said it was the latter.

“We kind of decide those on a week-to-week basis. Certainly Wes had some opportunities in the game and made the most on a few of those. Then we had some other opportunities we didn’t quite hit,” McDaniels said. “Wes’ role is the same as we’ve always gone. We’ll go each week and try to do what we think is best to help us win. Sometimes that may include playing more multiple tight ends. Sometimes it might be playing a lot more receivers. We kind of try to feel that out as we go through our preparation and then make the decisions that go along with it.”

It’s something we’ve seen for years from the Patriots backfield, but it hasn’t been quite as big a part of the team’s approach to their receiving corps. Extending that thought process makes sense given the deeper pool of receiving targets than the Patriots have had in some recent years.

Having said that, Welker’s never really been a player who saw his role determined by the game plan since guys who catch more than a hundred balls have to be on the field almost all the time to pull that off. There are plenty of weeks left in the season and it will be interesting to see how Welker’s used in them.

15 responses to “McDaniels says game plan reduced Welker’s role

  1. uncessary media nonsense. They ran the ball more than usual. They have a #85 now who can actually catch the ball . So obviously welker is going to see his numbers reduce. But after 1 game every one is calling “sharp decline”. BS.

  2. pats are trying to be the team that won 3 SBs… stout defense and balance on offense… lets see how long does the balanced offense lasts…

  3. The Patriots are just showing Welker that they are never going to give him the payday he has asked for.

  4. Something doesn’t quite pass the smell test here. Maybe Tenn took him away. Yes, Pats are a game plan team, but almost always Welker is part of it. He flew all the way to TB for joint practices, took part in 1 padded practice, then didn’t play in the game due to an excused absence. Didn’t catch 1 pass in preseason. Then they trade with the Rams for Salas. Maybe I watch too many movies with conspiracy theories, but can’t help but think something’s up.

  5. They picked up another legitimate receiver and appear to have a solid running back, (it’s only 1 week so lets wait on that), what would you expect?

    It’s beyond stupid to think they’re going to punish Welker by penalizing their offense.

  6. The Coaches are doing nothing but punishing the team by cutting back Welker’s playing time. Wes Welker is a playmaker.
    You figure the Patriots would take care of Welker, because he has always done what they ask of him, including sending his small frame across the middle of the field on slants where he gets hammered on. Pay him! He deserves it!

  7. But what was different this week than any other week? Gronkowski and Hernandez are pretty much un-coverable by any team. At what point this season will that be different for Welker to be featured?

  8. Welker still has it no question…. and Bill doesn’t change his play calling just to make a point to a receiver….

    the real issue is they have a TON of offensive talent for Brady to work this year… meaning not as much reliance on one player…

    Welker will still come through when it counts….

  9. The Pats are now implementing a TE oriented offense. It allows them to leave the same 2 TE personnel package on the field and run damn near anything they want from it. These two TE’s give the Pats enormous versatility without having to substitute and that really messes with the defense. It also allows them to up the tempo because they don’t need to sub out personnel, and really put the heat on the defense. This alignment also gives them equal flexibility in TE/receiver mode, TE/run blocking mode and TE/pass protect mode. These guys do it all and the defense never knows what to expect. Basically, as this relates to Wes is that the offense is morphing into something that will be far less dependent on Wes. It’s certainly no slight to Wes, but rather the offense is changing into something that is more versatile and less dependent on him.

  10. It’s all very simple. One more catch and Welker would have set the new Franchise Record for receptions held by Troy Brown. They want him to do that at home this week against the Cardinals, perhaps with TB80 in attendance. The game was in hand, so they pulled him.

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