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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2009 CFB Preview: Alabama Crimson Tide

Check out our other 2009 college football previews.

Preseason Ranking: No. 5 in AP Top 25; No. 5 in USA Today Poll.

Key Returning Players: Greg McElroy (QB); Mark Ingram (RB); Julio Jones (WR); Rolando McClain (LB); Don’t’a Hightower (LB); Cory Reamer (LB); Brandon Deaderick (DE); Terrence Cody (DT); Brandon Fanney (DT); Justin Woodall (S); Javier Arenas (CB); Kareem Jackson (CB); Leigh Tiffin (K).

Key Losses: Glen Coffee (RB); John Parker Wilson (QB); Rashad Johnson (S); Andre Smith (OT); Antoine Caldwell (C); Marlon Davis (G); Bobby Greenwood (DE); Travis McCall (TE); Nick Walker (TE).

Player to Watch: Terrence Cody, DT.
At 365 pounds, Cody is without a doubt the key cog in Bama’s defensive line. “Mount Cody” tallied 24 tackles with 4.5 tackles for loss last season, which made him a consensus First-Team All-American. He was also named a First-Team All-SEC selection by the conference coaches, as well as the AP. As long as he can stay healthy (he missed some time last season with a sprained MCL), Cody will once again be a force in the interior of Bama’s defensive line.

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Nick Saban has Alabama fans smiling

Was anyone really surprised when Clemson folded like a house of cards against Alabama on Saturday night? Did anyone really think Tommy Bowden wouldn’t find a way to blow it against Nick Saban? From the first series, it was clear that Alabama meant business, and Clemson just didn’t have the fire to compete.

We already knew Saban was a great college coach, but now we know he also has some real talent.

Stewart Mandel explains that Terrence Cody will likely be a star.

That Alabama may have the next Glenn Dorsey on its hands. Tide fans spent the offseason drooling in anticipation over the arrival of freshman WR Julio Jones, and while Jones did not disappoint in his debut, the truly astonishing newcomer was defensive tackle Terrence Cody. Clemson’s offensive line had no answer for the freakish 6-foot-5, 365-pound junior college transfer, who could be seen storming into the Tigers’ backfield over and over. Clemson’s vaunted rushing attack netted zero — yes, zero — total yards.

With such a rare combination of size and speed, Cody — who, as legend has it, began the year nearly 30 pounds heavier yet could be seen on the basketball court “dunking and doing 360s with the ball,” Tide center Antoine Caldwell said this summer — looks like the same kind of one-man wrecking crew as the former LSU star. Foes will have no choice to double or triple-team him, which, in ‘Bama’s 3-4 scheme, frees up all kinds of gaps for the linebackers.

We knew it was just a matter of time before Saban had Alabama back on track. We’ll see how much damage they can do this year.

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