So, by now, everyone has heard that Edelman has been placed on IR (even thought I somehow smoked all the beat reporters to the punch on that one) and is done for the season. Now, you may not think this is a big deal. "Oh, whatever, we still have Gronk, Hernandez, Lloyd, and Welker with Fells playing well and the Branch/Stallworth potential." And yeah, I can get behind that. I love Edelman on offense, but this team has so many weapons that we can get by without him, especially once Gronk comes back.
The problem comes when you start to look at punt returns. Edelman has been downright dynamite on punt returns since coming back from his injury. He obviously had that PR for a touchdown, but he has had a NUMBER of returns where he turned nothing into something and gained 10-15 yards on a return where most people would get nothing. Yeah, 10-15 yards seems insignificant, put it turns a 50 yard punt into a shitty 35 yarder and moves the field position. On top of that, he has come close to breaking a few others. He is just a weapon back there, someone that anytime he touches the ball, he has the potential to go all the way. I am only 23 years old, so there may not be too much context for this, but as I said the other day, he has looked like the best punt returner we have had in my entire life. Yeah, Troy Brown was solid, but he didn't have the type of athleticism or potential to break one that Edelman shows. It may be too early to give him the crown, but it was starting to look like he would end up there.
Now the problem here is that the ONLY player aside from Edelman to take a punt return this year has been Wes Welker. Brandon Bolden took a few punts in the preseason and during training camp. But, he looked like SHIT doing it, so that doesn't really seem to be an option. So the question becomes, are you OK with Wes Welker taking back punts. Personally, I go back and forth on it. On the one hand, with Edelman out, we really cannot lose Welker to an injury as well without our offense being derailed. On the other, it's putting someone with no experience back there that I do not trust. You pretty much have to pick between the lesser of two evils here. My personal opinion, punt 1000 balls to Bolden this week and next while you have Welker return against the Texans and Niners and you evaluate Bolden,. Then, give him a shot to return them the next two weeks before the playoffs to see what you have. If he looks solid back there, maybe you try to ride him out in the playoffs. Ahh fuck it, I'm trying to rationalize it someway. We have to put Welker back there, and I fucking hate it. We are screwed if he goes down. Just fair catch it every time Wes, I don't care about return yards, just don't get knocked-the-fuck-out. As always, follow me @CultOfBelichick