I know there are a lot of Welker threads and discussions going on. I believe the sensible move is to keep Welker. But the intention of this thread is what do they do if Welker is let go. Objectives: 1) It would be silly to think the offense without Welker could continue to run the same scheme and be nearly as good. Welker is a once in a generation player, and no team has anyone who can step into his role, much less us being able to acquire one. 2) I'm not big on the point of view that the offense isn't equipped to win in the playoffs or against good defenses. I think that viewpoint simply ignores a)that every team does worse vs good defenses and b)ignores the many good games as if they never happened. c) as soon as the offense has a bad game that means that team played the same style of D whether it did or not. I'm going to approach it from what could be improved in our scheme by a scheme change. Of course the caveat here is that improving on one of the best offense to ever exist is much easier said than done. 3) The acquisitions can't break the bank, because the only point in moving on is the money. The offense we have run since 2007 has run through Welker. The route combinations play design and calls, gameplanning, and scheme were centered around Welkers ability to get open being the primary advantage we have (aside from TFB) on offense. Defenses start gameplanning by accounting for Wes. We have implemented hurryup, spread, 3 wide, 2 TE, and fit many different players around that central cog. We have had Moss as a great deep threat, Gronk as the record setting TE, had top 5 in history scoring offenses with Maroney, BJGE and Ridley at RB, and been one of the best offenses in NFL history all the while. The evolution of the offense without Welker will not be putting someone else in his role. You just can't do that effectively. Some player or group of players will take his spot on the field, but the role where the passing offense revolved around his function is done. The first step is that this will mean we need more weapons to spread the ball around to. The idea that the TEs can take a larger role is dubious because when they have played together their combined role has been greater than any TE duo in NFL history. It's like waiting for mortgage rates to go down, when they are the lowest in the history of the country. The idea that Hernandez becomes Welker is simply ludicrous. His value is being a mismatch with speed, quickness and agility as a TE. Put him at WR and you take all of that away, and make him medocre. The idea of running more to compensate is also faulty since we ran the 2nd most times in the league this year. The change that would take place would be to eliminate the role that the offense has revolved around and replace it with something else. No doubt we will stay a base 1/2/2 lineup because of Gronk and Hernandez. We are going to need to get another outside WR to replace Welker who can run every route, and be a traditional WR. Paired with Llllloyd, you will have 2 outside guys catching around 70 passes for around 900 yards a piece. The offnese will move somewhat to a more downfield throwing offense, with more running from traditional run sets rather than shotgun draw plays. The RBs will become a much bigger factor in the passing game. Different will be different, not necessarily worse, with one HUGE exception. In 3rd down and 2 minute situations we will be lacking the best weapon in football. We were #1 in 3rd down conversions this year, in large part because we have THE player in the NFL most likely to get himself open on 3rd down. This will be a challenge, and the result may be that we need to put TEs and RBs in the pattern more heavily on 3rd down, putting bigger risk on the sack. Additionally, Welker not only gets open better, but gets open QUICKER than anyone, so the pass rush risk increases as well. Positives? It has always troubled me that on days our offense does poorly it always seems to be 'just misses' on 3rd down, on plays we normally make that are the undoing. I could never pout my finger on what caused that. As I left the AFCCG it occured to me that while I felt the exact same way, we converted a bunch of 3rd downs. After looking back we were 7/15 which is a league leading level of 46% and there were at least 5 conversions that were drops, flukes or plays we always make. Thats when I realized, the problem wasn't missing 3rd down, it was needing to make so many of them because we spent the whole day moving in small chunks and being in 3rd down. This seems to happen from time to time, but iut seems to me, more often in big games. It may be possible that we have created such a potent offense relying on the short pass that we go into big games saying 'stick to what we do best' and create a game plan even more heavy on short passes, and running to 'stay on schedule' to down and distance, and therefore turn into a bend but don't break offense. Eliminating Welker could be addition by subtraction by forcing the coaching staff out of that strategy. I'm not sure I buy that myself. The other positive, frankly is really only theoretical, but I'll mention it. If we eliminate a highly paid offensive player, we can put more money into defense, leveling the field a bit to accept a lesser offense for a better defense. In reality we still need a WR, and the few bucks left over won't have much real impact on the defense. Please do not respond by discussing the merits of keeping Welker vs letting him go, but only about thoughts about what to do if he leaves.