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Hernandez injury gets Welker back into Pats mix

Wes Welker AP

In the aftermath of Week One, there was a fair amount of conversation about Wes Welker’s role in the Patriots offense after he played a far smaller role than he has in past years.

It looked like were heading for a similar discussion after the game against the Cardinals when the Pats got the ball for the first time. Julian Edelman joined Brandon Lloyd, Rob Gronkowski and Aaron Hernandez in the team’s base offense with Welker on the sideline looking on at the action. Hernandez got hurt just a few snaps into the game, though, and the offense was forced to adapt away from the two tight end sets that they featured on every snap of the opening game.

They went with three receivers more often than not and Welker played on 63 of the 79 remaining snaps. He also saw a team-high 11 targets, finishing with five catches for 95 yards, which tells you that there’s still a comfortable spot for the receiver when Tom Brady goes looking for a receiver. Even with that, there were times when the team went with two wideouts and that meant Welker was back on the bench. Welker played the good soldier when asked about his playing time after the game.

“You know, you want to be out there, I think as a competitor and everything else, especially on Sundays, it’s what we play for and what we work for and you want to be out there,” Welker said in comments distributed by the team. “At the same time, Coach felt like whatever was best for the team and I’m for that and I totally understand that and I’m just there to help out however I can.”

The Pats went with multiple tight ends on just 19 snaps after Hernandez was injured, according to Mike Reiss of ESPNBoston.com, and it doesn’t seem like Daniel Fells or Michael Hoomanawanui will be able to mimic what the team loses with Hernandez out of action. That suggests a bigger role for Welker going forward, which will seem like even old times even if the impetus isn’t the same as it was in the past.

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14 Responses to “Hernandez injury gets Welker back into Pats mix”
  1. tim1999 says: Sep 17, 2012 8:13 AM

    Boomer Esiason said on Boston radio this morning that Welker is being punished because he did not sign a longterm contract with the Patriots.
    It’s clear something is going on because you don’t phase out one of the most productive WR’s in football for Julien freakin’ Edelman.

  2. piazzajordan2 says: Sep 17, 2012 8:18 AM

    This sucks. Hopefully, if anything, this could mean the return of Dieon Branch. How great would he be for another season? He said he wants to come back, and it was even PFT who said he could if such an injury like this was to happen.

  3. eyeh8goodell says: Sep 17, 2012 8:26 AM

    Belichick is like a bitter spurned lover. It’s perfectly OK for him and the Pats FO to conduct the cold, hard business side of things with players, but if a player tries to play the business side of things too he holds a grudge and cuts their playing time. Like a player is supposed to disregard his obligation to his own future and personal situation to satisfy Bill’s expectations for the football team. There’s no give and take with Bill, it’s all take, take, take…….and then cut a player loose and discard him like an empty soup can once he’s done. Maybe if you’re lucky you’ll get some positive comments from him in the press afterward and down the line, but that’s all you can expect to get from him.

  4. samapoc says: Sep 17, 2012 8:27 AM

    All Welker does is win. If you have to go with plan B, this is a great one.

  5. mike83ri says: Sep 17, 2012 8:46 AM

    Hello, Kellen Winslow. You have a flight leaving to bring you here in 2 hours. See you soon.

    -Bill Belichick

  6. capesquad says: Sep 17, 2012 8:46 AM

    Good! I won’t try and guess what the coaches were thinking starting Edelman over Wes Welker but I disagree entirely. If we’ve only got him for another year (???) than let’s take advantage of his and Brady’s connection for that year.

    Welker was second only to Calvin Johnson last year in receptions!! We’ve got him, Gronk, Hernandez, the addition of Lloyd AND finally a run game now with Ridley and we’re gonna fool around with that?

    We have a defense, after a phenomenal draft. We have Tom Brady… this should be nothing but net for Josh McDaniels and Bill Belichick. Please don’t play politics with Wes Welker (who past Troy Brown yesterday for most receptions in Pats history.)

    I’m scratching my head.

  7. annes22 says: Sep 17, 2012 8:47 AM

    Finally Wes gets back in the game. It’s not before time. Ridiculous that the Patsies don’t use him.
    Last year he was their star player, and now he sits on the bench. Get over the contract crap New England and play the guy.
    Looks like you needed help yesterday, fancy being beaten by Arizona, that was a wake up call!!
    Nice kick at the end of the game, good old shank that knocked people out of suicide pools all over the place.

  8. mullman76 says: Sep 17, 2012 9:19 AM

    William is a bitter old man who runs his cheating franchise with an iron fist. Go against the company line and you will be dealt with.

    Welker has been one of the most productive WRs in the league, you don’t sit him unless you’re a spiteful, angry, curmudgeon like William.

  9. gisellichek says: Sep 17, 2012 9:48 AM

    Rough loss yesterday… the offense looked like crap… and it looks like BB is playing games with Welker…

    Bill… Julian Edleman is Not Wes Welker… never will be…

    Although… I do offer this perspective… If BB feels that he is not going to have Welker in the mix after this season … he has to lessen his dependence on him … and find a way to win without him… I think that is what we are seeing… This has to suck for Brady… Imagine him being told Welker is being taken away from you … and to figure it out without him.

  10. footballchic777 says: Sep 17, 2012 12:20 PM

    eyeh8goodell: I totally agree. Belichick and the Patriots do what is good for them and damn the consequences. They don’t like being questioned and made to look bad, or should I say have it publicly pointed out how they do business, so the benching is their way of squelching any future players from trying this. They have picked up a ton of players for vets minimum, and they will probably need them, because eventually, players are not going to want to be treated the way you are in New England if your name isn’t Tom Brady.

  11. CKL says: Sep 17, 2012 12:41 PM

    Mullman you make me laugh with all your trolling of BB. I guess you hated your team’s owner who had a lot of respect for BB, and once tried to hire him and the feeling of respect was mutual with BB.

    BB is many things, some good some not so good, but if he thinks a guy will help his team he does not hold a grudge. That’s childish wishing by people who hate him. Law called him a LIAR to the media, but BB still talked to him when he was a FA and tried to get him to return to the Pats. And it’s obvious by the F-A-C-T that a LOT of former Pats who talked a lot of bad about him publicly are back in the fold as Pats supporters now that their careers are over (Law, Milloy, Bledsoe, etc).

  12. crisper57 says: Sep 17, 2012 12:53 PM

    This could turn out to be a blessing in disguise. Welker gets put back in the gameplan and the Pats start to roll. Then they get a rested Hernandez back just in time for a playoff push…

  13. hardballtalkusername says: Sep 17, 2012 1:15 PM

    I understand that viewpoint gisellichek, but I disagree. It’s not like Welker has said he wouldn’t return to the team, nor did he hold out like a lot of players have recently. In fact, he did the opposite, embracing the franchise tag for the millions it was giving him. If anything, the Patriots are convincing him to sign elsewhere with STARTING Edelman over him. Interesting that Edelman ran right into to Hernandez and he’s outs for awhile now. The Patriots are an interesting organization, they take an unconventional route in a lot of ways, a good amount of which work out, but this is one I would disagree with.

  14. surfinbird1 says: Sep 17, 2012 1:48 PM

    The coaching,and play calling in this game were beyond awful. Can we get Bill O’Brian back.

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