On Monday, the Rams quickly added receiver Wes Welker once the four-game suspension of receiver Stedman Bailey became effective. Four days later, it’s still not clear whether Welker will play on Sunday against the Bears and his most recent head coach in Denver, John Fox.
“We still have some stuff to do tomorrow,” Rams coach Jeff Fisher told reporters on Friday. “He’ll meet this afternoon and we’ll get some stuff done tomorrow. We’ll just see how it is. We’ve typically carried five receivers into the game, and we’ll just see how it goes.”
If Welker plays, he may get some passes thrown in his direction.
“We have some things in the offense for him,” Fisher said. “The ball’s not necessarily designed to go to him, but it may if he plays.”
The challenge for the Rams will be to replace Bailey both as a receiver and as a special-teams contributor; “Sted as a gunner is as good as there is,” Fisher said Friday. “He goes down and he makes tackles.”
Welker won’t be making tackles or otherwise playing special teams. Which means that, in determining which 46 of the 53 players on the roster will dress on Sunday, the Rams will need to be sure that someone other than Welker can do what Bailey had been doing on special teams. If the numbers simply don’t work, it’s possible that Welker won’t be in uniform.
The Rams currently have five receivers on the roster: Tavon Austin, Kenny Britt, Brian Quick, Bradley Marquez, and Welker. If, as Fisher suggested on Friday, Marquez can handle Bailey’s special-teams role, Welker can dress. If running back Chase Reynolds is needed on the game-day roster to replace Bailey, that could be bad news for Welker.
Who could then be muttering “I should be playing” not from his living room but from the sidelines of an NFL game.