Patriots make wise decision to place Wes Welker on PUP list

HOUSTON - JANUARY 03:  Wide receiver Wes Welker #83 of the New England Patriots is tended to by medical personnel after injuring his leg against the Houston Texans at Reliant Stadium on January 3, 2010 in Houston, Texas.  (Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images)

When fantasy football owners woke up this morning and saw the news that the Patriots had placed receiver Wes Welker on the Physically Unable to Perform list, their first reaction was likely to adjust their draft boards. (Actually, their first reaction was probably to crap themselves and then adjust their draft boards, but that’s gross so just forget I wrote it. For realsies – just put it out of your mind.)

But the Welker decision was like most decisions Bill Belichick and the Patriots have made throughout the years: smart.

Welker knows how to catch a screen pass in Belichick’s offense. He’s been doing it since 2007 and he’s quite good at it, might I add. So there’s no reason to rush him back for the start of training camp, even if he’s medically cleared to start practicing.

Training camp is mostly beneficial for three kinds of players: Rookies, veterans who are unfamiliar with the offense or defense, and players who are out of shape. Welker isn’t a rookie, he knows Belichick’s offense like the back of his hand and even though he might not be in game shape, he’s been working out for months and probably isn’t the second coming of Terrence Cody.

Seven months ago he shredded his knee, which some in the medical field (dentist, I believe) claim takes time to heal. Welker can come off the PUP list at any point over the next couple of weeks, so if the Patriots deem him ready to go, then they can active him and get him ready for season.

Assuming he doesn’t suffer any setbacks in his rehabilitation, then there should be no panic in Beantown.

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Are we witnessing the end of the Pats’ dynasty?

It wasn’t supposed to be like this for the New England Patriots. In the preseason, the general consensus was that the Pats were going to put on an offensive show reminiscent of 2007 this season now that Tom Brady was back under center. But while the offense has been outstanding this season (they are third in the NFL in total offense and second in the AFC in points scored behind the Chargers), the Pats have been far from dominant.

At the root of the issue has been a defense that has been average at best this year. The Pats have the No. 11 overall defense, but the stats don’t paint the full picture. Opponents have been able to move the ball successfully against them this season, mostly notably on the ground where NE is giving up over 110 rushing yards per game.

Compounding New England’s problems is that they haven’t been as clutch as they have been in previous seasons. Brady has had his issues with turnovers, the defense has struggled coming up with a big stop and regardless of whether or not you agree with Belichick’s decision-making this season, the bottom line is that they haven’t worked. The fourth down gaffe against Indianapolis wasn’t the only time Belichick has rolled the dice this season and came up short.

The good thing is that the Patriots have been here before. They have loads of postseason experience and have been a different team at home this season than on the road. The problem (outside of everything else that has already been mentioned) is that they face a confident Ravens team that has already proven it can go toe-to-toe with them in Foxboro, and that they’ll be without their most consistent offensive weapon in Wes Welker, who suffered a season-ending knee injury last Sunday in Houston.

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Belichick blames Reliant Stadium for Welker’s injury

Bill Belichick is blaming Wes Welker’s torn MCL and ACL on the poor field conditions at Houston’s Reliant Stadium.

From Yahoo! Sports:

Welker, who led the NFL with 123 receptions, suffered a serious left knee injury in a 34-27 loss to the Texans on Sunday on what Belichick called “one of the worst fields I’ve seen.”

He did not elaborate Tuesday on remarks he made a day earlier during his weekly appearance on WEEI radio. Belichick said the field was inconsistent— spongy in parts and hard in others—causing players to get a different feel with each step.
Belichick said a lot of non-contact injuries like Welker’s occur on such surfaces.

Asked several times about the field on Tuesday, Belichick said he is focusing on Sunday’s home playoff game against the Baltimore Ravens.

Come on Bill, you can do better than that. Just say something clichéd like, “Injuries happen in football,” and move on. Don’t blame it on the field to deflect some of the blame off yourself for having Welker playing in a semi-meaningless game in the first place.

Photo from fOTOGLIF

This is why teams considering resting starters: Wes Welker tears ACL is reporting that Patriots’ receiver Wes Welker has been diagnosed with a torn ACL and MCL and will miss the entire postseason. Welker suffered the injury while trying to make a cut during New England’s 34-27 loss to Houston in Week 17.

For those fans that complain about teams resting starters late in the season, this is why they do it. I understand this isn’t the same as the Colts conceding a perfect season by pulling Peyton Manning and the rest of their starters last week, and I’m not trying to compare the situations. But did Welker have to play today? Did he absolutely need the extra work? If he took the week off, would he and Tom Brady not be able to complete a bubble screen next week in the postseason after successfully completing 4,350 bubble screens this season?

I get it – momentum is vital in sports. Teams don’t want to have a losing mindset entering the postseason and it’s key for coaches to keep their players confident. But what was this all for in the end? What if this had been Brady? I’m sorry, but I disagree with those that think teams with nothing to play for should keep their starters in through Week 17. I get that injuries can happen in practice and even in the player’s own homes, but the risk factor is amplified in a live game.

I feel bad for Wes Welker. He worked his ass off all season to help his team get to the playoffs and now he’ll have to watch from the sidelines because Bill Belichick and his coaching staff decided that he needed to play in a semi-meaningless game against Houston.

Blogging the Bloggers: Olympic Games, High School Football & more

BLEACHER REPORT dissects why Wes Welker isn’t the answer to Tom Brady’s early season troubles.

SPORTSbyBROOKS details the fight between two high schools in Mississippi, where one player got hit in the head with a helmet.

REAL CLEAR SPORTS writes that Chicago’s “Glitz Blitz” fails to win the Olympic games.

THE DRAFT ZOO breaks down Week 5 in college football, with keys to victory and what to watch for.

YARDBARKER provides info about Rio de Janeiro and their winning bid for the 2016 Olympic Games.

– Although I feel bad for this kid because he’s quickly becoming an internet sensation for all the wrong reasons, UNCOACHED has video of the dumbest high school football play of the year:

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