Some more athletes coming to the defense of Welker, after Matt Light voiced his thoughts earlier this week.
This time it's two of the greatest wide receivers to play the game. Michael Irvin of the NFL Network shared his thoughts with the Boston Herald.
“Absolutely, absolutely crazy. But I also think Wes would be crazy leaving the Patriots,” said Irvin, who works for the NFL Network. “What you need is a great coach that says, ‘I recognize your skill set. Let me make sure I ask you to do what you do best.’ That’s what Wes does. That’s what New England does with Wes. That’s why it’s a perfect fit.
“Tom Brady loves throwing inside. You’ve got (Rob Gronkowski) who is going to give you vertical size and also get you up the field vertical, but you need that small guy that works in small spaces. Wes is that guy. As long as you have Tom Brady, you better have Wes Welker, or you will see Tom Brady not (playing) like Tom Brady.”
The thing I take the most out of Irvin's comments it how he thinks Tom Brady won't play as well without Wes Welker. It's not something we've heard said an awful lot. But you have to admit he's got a point.
Since Wes Welker arrived in New England, he's had more catches than anyone else in the league. Similarly, Tom Brady's stats absolutely blossomed. The two have an amazing connection on the field. When the Patriots need a third down, are you not absolutely confident that Welker is going to get it for you nine times out of 10? (And don't give me the crap about drops) I cannot understand why Patriots fans somehow thing that could be replaceable.
Randy Moss also chimed in...
“It was a great combination because of what we were able to do to benefit from one another,” Moss said. “He’s the wide receiver that you need for your dirty work. I can honestly say, and I’m not telling you something you don’t already know, he does the dirty work up there. He takes the hits across the middle. He takes the short routes and takes them 20, 30, 40 yards for the first down or maybe the touchdown. You can really appreciate the guy’s work.”
Based on the opinion of these two, one thing is clear. The Patriots are a team that needs Wes Welker.
As Moss says, Welker does "the dirty work". How many times have you seen Welker get lit up in the middle of the field only to get right back up for the next play? Countless times. He has a toughness that seems to be underestimated around New England lately, something that will be sorely missed if he's gone.
How do you replace that? There isn't an option on the roster. Aaron Hernandez is a great player, and could very well move to the slot if Welker leaves, but we've seen time and time again that he can be a bit shy when it comes to taking contact, as evidenced by the context of several of his drops.
As Jeff Howe points out in the Herald, Welker has only missed four games out of the 106 he's played. Danny Amendola and Julian Edelman (most often compared to Welker) missed 30 total in just the last two seasons.
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