It’s no secret that Wes Welker’s long-term future in New England might not be secure.
But for now, quarterback Tom Brady said his trustworthy slot receiver is still an integral part of the system, calling him “a huge part of this offense and what we do on a weekly basis.”
Welker was targeted 173 times last season, catching a league-high 122 passes. But he was targeted just five times last week, and Julian Edelman was taking some of his snaps.
“Every week is a little bit different,” Brady explained, via Tom Curran of CSNNE.com. “There are different opportunities on different weeks for different players. I think the thing that’s important to remember is that it’s a 16-game season. You start getting up there, and play  or 700 plays every year, when you need it most, you have to be fresh. I think that goes for all of us.
“There is really a fine line because you’re not pacing yourself by any stretch, but at the same time, ‘Look, it’s Week 1.’ We have a lot of football to play. We’re going to need everybody.”
Couple with Welker’s inability to get an extension beyond his $9.5 million franchise tender, there were concerns that last week was the first evidence he was being phased out, even though Edelman took a third of the snaps.
“There are going to be games where Wes has not as many opportunities, and games where he has a ton of opportunities,” said Brady. “It all depends on how the game may play out or the situation of the game. . . .
“I’m sure there won’t be too many games where he doesn’t get a lot of opportunity.”
Until he does, however, people are going to wonder.