FOXBORO, Mass. — When Julian Edelman started in Wes Welker's place against
the Arizona Cardinals in Week 2, the rumors began to swirl that the talented
receiver's days as the primary target of New England's offense were numbered.
And speculation was afoot that Bill Belichick was the instigator.
Four weeks and 35 catches later, though, Welker's place in
the Patriots offensive system is as secure as ever, and he's happy to rub it in
Belichick's face — jokingly, of course.
During his weekly segment with Comcast Sports
Net New England following the Patriots 31-21 win against the Broncos on Sunday,
Welker joked that the monster night should show Belichick.
"It's definitely nice to stick it in Bill's face once
in a while," Welker sarcastically said with a laugh. "So this is
definitely a good one."
While the comment was merely a subtle joke about the rumored
rift between player and coach, Welker's performance on Sunday was no laughing
On a night when the running game once again accounted
for the majority of the offense's success — carrying the ball 54 times for 251 yards — Welker's monster effort flew somewhat under the radar. An eye-popping 13
catches for 104 yards, his third consecutive week eclipsing the century mark,
and a touchdown was all that the
31-year-old could manage against a stout Denver defense. Such a shame, right?
Welker spoke more frankly about his performance as well,
though. He explained to reporters afterward that it was just about taking
advantage of the opportunities that presented themselves, especially with so
many options readily available on the roster.
"We have Brandon Lloyd, we have Gronk [Rob Gronkowski],
we have Deion [Branch], and we have the running game," Welker said of the
Patriots weapons. "They mixed it up and then we just tried to adjust to
whatever they were doing and put ourselves in the best play possible."
The Patriots were able to do just that nearly all night
long, and Welker just happened to be the primary recipient. As he has been
pretty much all year.
On the season, Welker has done nothing but continue to
reaffirm his importance within the Patriots' offense, and the 13-catch outing on
Sunday was just the most recent example of his vitality to the success of this
After Sunday's breakout, Welker now has 38 grabs for 484
yards on the year, both which rank among the top-five in football. And
statistics don't even account for all the value Welker provides to Tom Brady
and the offense as a whole.
There's so much that makes Welker an invaluable
asset to the Patriots. And while it may not be behoove Welker to 'stick it' in
the coach's face, performances like Sunday are always a good reminder of
Welker's ultimate worth.