Contrary to reports, Wade Phillips did not insult Wes Welker


Texans defensive coordinator Wade Phillips did not say anything controversial or disrespectful when asked on Thursday about how Houston will cover Patriots receiver Wes Welker this weekend. But that didn’t stop Phillips’ comments from becoming a story.

It started with a completely innocuous report from in which writer Paul Kuharsky asked Phillips if Texans cornerback Johnathan Joseph will have the same coverage responsibilities against Welker this week as he had against Bengals receiver A.J. Green last week. Phillips responded by noting that Welker and Green are different players.

“Ah, Welker’s not Green,” Phillips said. “He’s a good player, but he’s not that big or a real athletic guy. He’s a quick guy that gets open on option routes.”

No reasonable person would say that Phillips was providing bulletin board material for Welker with those comments. Phillips was simply stating two facts: The 5-foot-9 Welker is not as big as the 6-foot-4 Green, and Welker doesn’t have the same kind of deep speed that Green has (Green has more catches of 40 or more yards in his career than Welker does, even though Green has played two seasons and Welker has played nine seasons). Everyone who follows football knows that, right?

Apparently not. Although ESPN buried Phillips’ comments in the 13th paragraph of a long story about how the Texans’ defense was preparing for the Patriots, several outlets pulled that quote out and made it a headline, attempting to portray Phillips as having insulted Welker. The Boston Globe headline was, “Wade Phillips says Wes Welker is not ‘a real athletic guy.’” The Boston Herald headline was, “Wade Phillips: Wes Welker’s no Green.” Boston radio station WEEI posted a report headlined, “Wade Phillips’ comments on Wes Welker create a stir.”

If these comments created a stir, then we really need the games to start, because we’ve officially run out of things to talk about. But they did create enough of a stir that Phillips felt the need to go on Twitter and explain himself, writing, “Wes Welker is a great athlete and one of the best receivers of all time,” while also taking a shot at the media for twisting his words.

Obviously, Phillips knows that Welker is a great athlete — every NFL wide receiver is a great athlete — but when Phillips was asked a direct question about whether covering Welker will provide the same kind of challenge to the Texans as covering Green, he gave a direct answer and stated what should be obvious to anyone who has seen them play: Welker and Green are different kinds of receivers, different kinds of athletes, and playing defense against them is different. There’s nothing insulting about saying that.

57 responses to “Contrary to reports, Wade Phillips did not insult Wes Welker

  1. Thanks Wade,

    Because of that you can go ahead and put Welker down for 10 catches for 125 and and TD.

    Pats 31
    Texans 14

  2. The only way to avoid controversy these days is by saying ‘no comment’ to virtually anything. The fact that this became a story at all is an indictment of created news as opposed to reported news. GUYS — let’s just play football!

  3. Once again the media create the story rather than accurately reporting it. There was nothing wrong with anything Phillips said. There was no slight. The idiot “reporters” are just stirring the pot to increase their “by lines”. It’s a shame there are no sanctions for these clowns. It’s an even bigger shame that there are idiots that believe this crap even after reading the entire quote in context.

  4. One other thing to notice about Welker. After he catches the ball in the middle of the field, he moves very low to the ground and avoids taking hits, but dives as far as he can. Adding an extra couple of yards and avoiding punishment.

    Remember, the knee injury he sustained wasn’t due to a hit. He twisted it on the crappy Houston turf. Yeah, maybe he’s not Jerry Rice, but he’s effective, mostly sure handed and smart.

  5. Welker may not be the most “athletic”, but he is absolutely the most “skilled.” Welker knows his physical abilities and uses it to his advantage. Nobody runs a route like Wes…

  6. This is why everyone opts to be an “anonymous source.” The story should have been. ” An anonymous source says Wade said Wes is no Green, then laughed maniacally.”

  7. @tebowpraystobrady

    Thank heavens someone talked “smack” about Welker. We all know he has the work ethic of Bryant Mckinnie and needs motivation to play quality football. I also heard Kim Kardashian will be the new spokeswoman for the Family Values coalition.

  8. canetic says: Jan 11, 2013 7:34 AM

    That’s not nearly as bad as calling the game a “bye week” for the Patriots

    The “Bye Week” comment was made by a columnist, Dan Shaughnessy of the Boston Globe, not by anyone associated with the Patriots. As another Boston reporter commented, Dan couldn’t name 5 Texans or 10 Patriots. He’s a fool who tries to create controversy.

    Phillips was spot on. He said nothing demeaning about Welker. He was merely pointing out the Welker and Green have different skill sets.

    Does anyone else find it ironic that this site is criticizing the media for stirring things up based on an innocuous quote?

  9. Sunday afternoon will be mid 50’s at Gillette, great weather for a game, and it should be a good one. I want the Pats, but I know Texans are bringing their A Game this time. It’ll be a toughie.

  10. Boston people are just so Boston-y — and that’s not always a good thing. They’re bitter, tinged with arrogance, quick to point fingers and place blame, seem to have all kinds of pent up hatred.

    Even when they’re “happy,” or at least when they should be happy — they still seem burdened with an embittered outlook on life, always waiting for the other shoe to drop.

    I guess that happens when Boston (and Philadelphia) got “little-brothered” by New York City following the mid-1820’s after the Erie Canal was opened up for commerce.

    And we all know about the Red Sox once dominant MLB team after they “sold” Babe Ruth to the New York Yankees. Imagine the vitriol had Bob Kraft opted to sell Tom Brady to the Jets for a pile of money the owner, and only the owner could spend.

    The Patriots go 18-0 and are one insane David Tyree helmet-catch after Eli could have been called in the grasp by a ref with a quick-trigger whistle.

    Lots of bitterness, and it comes out so often in their sportswriters and their fanbase. So this twisting of legendary nice guy Wade Phillips is pretty much par for the course for those folks. It’s who they are. It’s what they do.

    Go Texans!

  11. With that said, both Houston AND Boston are having a heck of a time in the media for this game. Hey, gotta get new story lines for this rematch some where.

    It’s making for great radio.

    ps- Shaugnessy is a douche and no one up in Boston likes him.

  12. Best source of game week info is usually the game week quotes distributed by the teams. No spin, just their answers. Where at a point where papers/sites are scrambling for readers, and resort to this type of crap to get them.

  13. ESPN didnt’t spin it, the Boston Herald did. And maybe they’re trying to create animosity with the mob the same way Arian took the article of some no-name Boston reporter and made that bulletin board material.

    Now I get what Pats fans are saying when they explain Bellichick’s reticence in front of the Boston media. Those guys are vultures!

  14. To paraphrase Wade’s daddy when he was talking about Earl Campbell, “WW may not be in a class by himself, but whatever class he’s in it doesn’t take long to call the roll. “:)

    I’m a Pats fan and I don’t think he meant anything insulting by it . All he did was describe WW’s role.

  15. I love these articles stating how stupid ESPN is. The network, and the freak reporters that work for them are getting out of control. Now, PFT, you guys have to do something about it. Convince the execs over there that the fans want a real 24 hour sports news station with great stories, and no spin tactics, just good, fair, accurate reports. You guys spend a lot of time bashing ESPN, and trust me, I agree, and am on board, but, what more can/will you actually do about it? The NBC sports network is great and all, if you’re into fishing and hunting and a lot of redneck type stuff. If you really want to make a difference, put something of quality on my television, and I promise I’ll watch, and in sure a few good Americans will follow….. Anything to actually challenge those idiots at ESPN. I’m willing to bet NBC has a little cash, and could pull the very few decent reporters away. It’s a shame that Adam schefter is rotting away at ESPN. I’m sure it used to be considered somewhat of an honor to work for ESPN, now that pretty much anyone can get a job there (including racists, killers, druggies) that it’s not so much of an honor these days, and more of a paycheck. So keep bashing the 4 letter network, but if you’re going to keep doing it!!!!! BACK IT UP FOR US AS FANS!!!

  16. And all you make fun of Belichick for not giving anything to the media and being boring. Well this is the exact reason why.

    Fact, hes not a boring guy, he’s quite funny and very smart.

    He HATES the media and the spin.

  17. htowntexan says:
    Jan 11, 2013 8:41 AM
    Boston media is like a bunch of twelve year old girls.
    Good one! But actually, 12 year old girls are much more mature than Boston media, many of whom were stuffed in lockers in high school.

  18. I may be in in the minority here but it seems that saying welker is “not a real athletic guy” is contradictory to saying “he’s a great athlete”. You can’t have it both ways.

  19. It IS insulting to any NFL player to call them not “a real athletic guy”. Even Wilfork is called athletic. Maybe you could say he isn’t as fast as Green, but Welker is a better athlete than Green. He can do anything in football… Kick, retun punts and kick-offs, play receiver at an elite level and I’m sure he could play nickel back if needed.

    Hopefully Wade is not just babbling and that is a strategy to get Brady throwing to Welker more… Otherwise why tell the other team your plans… Idiotic.

    This one is far worse than some Boston media guy saying something. I expect Welker will be ready to prove something now. That’s better then Welker mouthing off like in 2010.

  20. Welker is like a 350. hitter who is always on base in baseball verses a 240. hitter who hits 40 homeruns. I’m sure Wade Phillips regrets responding at all right before a playoff game with New England. Welker will get around 10 catches unless Houston decides to take him away as a weapon. That will only result in the other New England weapons having a great game.

  21. With the way the media here in Dallas treated him I thought he would have learned to give them nothing.

  22. Whats up with the Boston Media…. First Shaughnessy and now this….

    I mean there was no misreading the Shaughnessy comments but this is ridiculous….

    Guess what Welker, your not as big and fast as AJ Green…. Doesn’t mean your not a great receiver…

  23. Wes Welker has been consistently the best WR in the league The last seven seasons. He clearly takes advantage of arguably one beat two or three QBs of all time throwing to him. But he comes to play and he is in a contract year and still had 118 catches. His production the last seven seasons is unprecendented. No body comes close. The fact he’s not even considered as one of the best WRs is unreal. Not even Jerry Rice posted these kinds of #s at any point in his career. And he’s the best ever.

  24. canetic says:Jan 11, 2013 7:34 AM

    That’s not nearly as bad as calling the game a “bye week” for the Patriots


    Dan Shaughnessy only said what almost all of the media “experts” are saying. He was just more rude about it. Have you looked at the expert picks out there? I found 1 person on ESPN who took Houston. Other than a few Texans blogs, almost everyone is taking the Patriots. Even in the Texans blogs some are taking the Patriots. None of that really matters though… The beauty of this sport is you have to line up on Sunday to see what will really happen.

    The difference between these comments and what Wade said is that the media guys get paid for the publicity. Saying Welker is not “a real athletic guy” can only hurt Wade. It at best is neutral and it certainly cannot help… either can informing the Patriots how you plan to cover Welker. Wade’s comments only ensure that Brady and Welker will come ready to play and with a chip on their shoulder too. It likely would have been that way no matter what was said, but why say it?

  25. I’m a Patsfan who loves it when stupid players and coaches provide bulletin board material, but not even I took Phillips’ comments as an insult.

    The fact that Welker has done do much with less size and athletic power than other players strikes me as a compliment

  26. Born and raised near Boston and, yes, the media people can be a bit too much at times. I have also lived in CA and VA and their media people do the same things; they’re all selling something. One thing that bugs me around here is that most of the media people aren’t even from around here and they all think they’re an authority on Boston sports. One thing I figured out is this: Whatever team you cheer for is always right and the teams that stand in their way, well, they and their fans have it all wrong. It’s the same everywhere. We hate New Yorkers, until we’re out on the West Coast, where they turn into ” home boys”. People are strange. Go Patriots!

  27. Shaugnessy is not even a football writer most of the time. Not even sure why he was allowed to write an article about football and he’s certainly clueless about it.

  28. It wasn’t by much, but Welker had more yards than Green this season. He did it by catching 21 more passes too. Personally, I would take a guy, who moves the chains consistently.

  29. So when Arian Foster posted an article on his twitter, the general response was, “well if Houston needs that to motivate them, they’re in trouble”. Now the Boston media are suggesting Welker should need motivation because Phillips dogged him? (which of course he didn’t).

    More reasons to pull for the Texans on Sunday.

  30. Not flagrant disrespect by any means but still a jab @ Wes. In a profession where media is more of vultures than any, Wade could have said ‘we deal with them differently’ than ‘Wes is not athletic, not big’.

  31. Calling a pro athlete ” not very athletic ” can only be taken as a shot. Whatever side you are on.

    ” not as athletic ” would have been a better way to say it. Without any argument. Its probably what he ment anyway.

  32. There is a reason why Bellichick always has better things to say about the opposition players than his own. He probably has said nicer things about Sanchez than he has about Brady.

  33. I like Welker, watched him a lot when he was at T.T.U.
    Can be surprisingly funny, and just as much so be quite the toolbag.

    But as far as all the comments go, Pats fans are becoming worse than Cowboy fans.
    Considering that at least the boys have 5 superbowl trophies and the Pats only have 3, also having lost your last 2…
    Pats fans definitely do not have the clout to feel quite as entitled.
    Especially when the NFL gives new england all their hard games at home…
    and the Cowboys had the highest rated game of the season on

  34. I’ve always found Patriots fans hard to deal with. Any question or comment eve if they’re not insulting or anything gets venomous responses like you’re ripping the Pats or something

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