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The Myth of Wes Welker, Return Man

Discussion in 'PatsFans.com - Patriots Fan Forum' started by patsox23, Mar 12, 2007.

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  1. patsox23

    patsox23 Rookie

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    Before you jump all over me, let me say this: I like Wes Welker. He's a nice little player. He may very well develop into Troy Brown 2.0. He's got the BB/Pioli stamp of approval, and that counts for a lot. I wasn't a big fan of what we gave up to get him, but that's a point for another day/thread.

    THIS THREAD is meant to explode a myth I've noticed is being constantly peddled around here - that Wes Welker is, in addition to being the ideal slot WR, a great "playmaker" and a top return man, both on KO's and punts. It simply isn't true.

    Does he have versatility? Sure. CAN he do those things - catch the ball, return kicks, return punts? Looks like it, yes. But is he REALLY good in the return game, is that ANOTHER way in which he marks a sure-fire improvement on the Patriots? No.

    Wes Welker averaged a pedestrian 22+ yards per KR last season. Lots of stuff goes into that, including and especially the other S/Ters paving the way (or not) for him as he goes (22 measly yards) up the field. Maybe on the Pats he would've averaged the 28 yards-per-return that Maroney did. But here's the thing: HE DIDN'T. Know what else he didn't do? Average 10.6 yards-per-punt return, like Kevin Faulk did. Wes averaged 9.2 yards per PR last season. Again, poor S/T blocking may have played a role in that.

    Welker may end up being a FANTASTIC returner for the Pats. I just think, to keep it real, people need to relax a bit about this guy. He's an UDFA hustler - we love those types. And we should. And maybe Welker will be "all he can be," and we'll love him even more. But people are peddling this nonsense about how awesome he is before he's actually every really DONE that on the field.

    You want to go off on Adalius Thomas and guarantee/assume his potential impact? Go for it. That's based on something. But Wes Welker has never been what people here seem to think he IS. Except for one day, in one game against the Pats last year. If he matches that from game to game, terrific, give my best to Hanolulu. I'd just like to suggest we temper our enthusiasm, just a bit, in exchange for a dose of reality, while keeping a mug of hopeful on the side, where it belongs.
    Last edited: Mar 12, 2007
  2. hwc

    hwc Rookie

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    Welker also handled 89 punt and kick returns last year without coughing up the ball once.

    Troy Brown was not a threat to break many punt returns in his latter years, but he also wasn't a threat to turn the ball over. There's value in that, too.
  3. zippo59

    zippo59 Rookie

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    I think Hobbs should be our kick returner, and Welker should do punts. I think Faulk is so valueable to this offense that if we have another option at PR we should use it.

    If Jackson gets healthy I would throw him in there too.
    Last edited: Mar 12, 2007
  4. PATRIOTS-80

    PATRIOTS-80 Rookie

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    Kevin Faulk averaged 6.7 yards a PR in '04. (Tim Dwight returned in 05). That jump from 6.7 to 10.6 wasn't because Faulk got quicker, it was because of youth injected into ST blocking.

    Wes is good from the eyeball test, put him with our ST unit, and we can expect a injection of exciting. I'm not saying he will be taking them to the house, but the return game should be good.
  5. Ghost of Ben Dreith

    Ghost of Ben Dreith Rookie

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    Damn you....stop it....stop being logical and on point before my head explodes!

    I do think he will fit in well here and more so than the yards, there are 2 reasons I would rather have Welker returning punts rather than Faulk. First, Faulk fill a more needed "regular" position than Welker, especially with the Stallworth and Washington signings. I would rather risk Welker. Second, I will feel more comfortable with Welker handling the ball than Faulk on ball security basis...at least until Welker proves me wrong.
  6. PATRIOTS-80

    PATRIOTS-80 Rookie

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    The fact that Faulk returned a AVG of 4 yards more was indeed because of ST units. The Dolphin return units were suspect, thus BB most likely gives more credit to Wes for those 9.2 yards than he does to the 'fins exceptional blocking unit.
    Last edited: Mar 12, 2007
  7. patsox23

    patsox23 Rookie

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    Interesting points. Thanks for weighing in. I especially take to the "protect Faulk" stuff and the Welker and ball-security angle. HOWEVER, that doesn't change the fact that many here seem to assume Welker IS something he has yet to actually be.
    Last edited: Mar 12, 2007
  8. KontradictioN

    KontradictioN Do you even lift? PatsFans.com Supporter

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    All the things Troy Brown is.
  9. PATRIOTS-80

    PATRIOTS-80 Rookie

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    Last edited: Mar 12, 2007
  10. patsox23

    patsox23 Rookie

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    So Welker IS Troy Brown now? See, that's seriously what I think a lot of people believe, and is a big part of why I started this thread. Is that what you really think? Can you please convince me?
  11. PATRIOTS-80

    PATRIOTS-80 Rookie

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    Obviously, as you mentioned there's more to a PR avg than just the PR. Faulk dramatic improvement from 04 to 06 was because of blocking. With Don Davis retiring, the unit will get even younger.
  12. KontradictioN

    KontradictioN Do you even lift? PatsFans.com Supporter

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    :rofl:

    Please quote the exact post where I said that Welker is Troy Brown. I merely compared the two in their similarities. To elaborate: work ethic, the willingness to get the tough yards over the middle, and be stuck wherever he can help his team (Brown at cornerback, Welker at place kicker in '04). Wes Welker is not Troy Brown. He is here to take over for Troy when he retires. So yeah, I'd appreciate it if you didn't try to shove words in my mouth. Thanks.
  13. dhamz

    dhamz Rookie

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    I also don't see the need to exaggerate Welker in the return game. He's just not a game breaker on returns.

    Welker is a very good slot WR who is also a solid KR and PR who doesn't fumble. There is absolutely nothing wrong with that.
    Last edited: Mar 12, 2007
  14. hwc

    hwc Rookie

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    I think Welker assumes the offensive and special teams roles that Brown has played on the team for the last several years. Possession slot receiver. Return game.

    I'm sure he brings a different skill set to the game than Brown does and it's rather pointless to compare the two since Brown is 37 years old and Welker is 25 years old.

    I think Welker's skill set will make him a valuable productive player for the Patriots. As Rodney Harrison said, "Wes Welker is a pain in the butt." The Parcells/Belichick coaching tree specializes in "pain in the butt" offensive players.
  15. TeamPats

    TeamPats Rookie

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    While I do feel comfrtoable with Hobbs returning kicks, there is no way we can afford to allow Maroney to return kickoffs anymore as he is far too valuable as our feature back. So I think Welker and Hobbs would be a very good tandem, and also the least spoken of quality of Welker's is his non-return special teams aka as he lines up as a gunner.
  16. Oswlek

    Oswlek Rookie

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    I think that I overrated Welker's KO return abilities, but he is a top PR man. I don't care what the numbers say. Welker has tremendous quickness and agility. He will make some moves that make your jaw drop in the open field.
  17. PatsFaninAZ

    PatsFaninAZ Rookie

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    So, we're a team that was just a play away from the super bowl last year, and we just had one of the more eventful two off-season weeks that I can ever remember, and what's here today? Wes is likely an overrated returner and Maroney is not proven!

    Classic! You'd never guess that most of us are also Red Sox fans, would you?
  18. wdkantro2

    wdkantro2 Rookie

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    Stats can only take you so far. Have any of you doubters ever actually watched Welker play? He has more straight ahead explosiveness than probably any other return man in the league.
    Faulk averaged 10+ per PR, but if you watched him, you would know that he had MANY zero yard returns and also a lot of 15+ yard returns. Welker can pretty much guarantee yardage on punt returns, as well as guaranteeing posession of the ball.
  19. Pat_the_Patriot

    Pat_the_Patriot Rookie

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    Look... I understand your logic... and can appreciate what you're saying re: the mug of hope on the side... but I DO think that Welker is diff.

    Outside of Thomas (for obv. reasons), I am MOST excited by the Welker pickup... if you were going to "mold" a Patriots player 4 years into his career...that guy IS Welker... he shows up to play, he plays hurt, he puts the team first, he doesn't give the ball up, and he isn't afraid to go over the middle.

    That being said... I'm not saying that he is the next Troy Brown... what I'm saying, what most (I think) are saying is that he is LIKE Troy Brown. Let me put it another way, if you took all of Vrabel's intangibles and packaged them in a slot receiver you'd have Welker... is Welker the next Vrabel... no.... is he the next "role player" to play beyond his talent for BB and the brain trust at the Razor? YES... or at least I think so. He is a special player... not because of his skill or his attributes, but because of his total and complete WILL to play (well and hard).

    Everyone is entitled to their own opinion.... and some of us will be right and some of us will be wrong. But, I'll tell you this.... Welker is tough, good, PATRIOT receiver....he plays faster than he is.... he plays bigger than he is... he plays BETTER than he is.

    I think he'll be one of our top screen receivers, I think he'll catch it over the middle and I think that TB will be throwing him the ball an awful lot (maybe just because he doesn't drop the ball, he doesn't fumble, and if he's not going to catch the ball... NO ONE is going to catch the ball).

    Is he Troy Brown...no way, it would be an insult to Troy to say that.... Brown has given us (Pats fans) WAYYYYYYYY too much for us to say that... but is he a Troy Brown type of player...there is NO DOUBT in my mind. I'd give up a second rounder for a guy like Welker any day of the week.

    I hope that answers your question... at least from my viewpoint!

    BTW: I think that the Welker signing will end up doing more for the Pats than the Stallworth signing, long term.... I could be wrong, but I think that I'm right.
  20. Gon_Trevil

    Gon_Trevil Rookie

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    Except for that one time in the Denver playoff game...


    Disclaimer: I love Troy
  21. dhamz

    dhamz Rookie

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    I've seen him play many times and that statement is just not true. There are a lot of return men with more straight ahead explosiveness than Welker.

    I actually like Welker for the player he is. I think it is those who don't who feel the need to make him out to be in the class of Pacman Jones or Devin Hester as a returnman.
  22. Ghost of Ben Dreith

    Ghost of Ben Dreith Rookie

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  23. Brady to Brown

    Brady to Brown Rookie

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    Return game or not. Belichick thought enough of Welker to double team him last year. I am happy that he is on our team :singing:
  24. spacecrime

    spacecrime Rookie

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    I don't like Faulk returning kicks because when he fumbles the ball on a kickoff, the other team is instantly in the red zone. I think Faulk's touching the ball should be limited to between the 40's, where a fumble doesn't always generate scores for the other team, or negate a scoring opportunity for us.
  25. Crowpointer

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  27. Seneschal2

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    patsox, there have been all sorts of opinions on Welker; some glowing -- and some not. It has been said that he's much better suited for the PR role than as a KR. That was his strength in college (8 return TDs). He then went on to SD and had 2 more return TDs -- then they cut him. And at Miami , he had another return TD -- but that was on a KO. It's quite obvious because of his proven ability to take one the distance, he's at the very least a threat. Granted, he's not the fastest, but he must have a keen sense of knowing how to return (blocking), rather than relying on the pure speed that others have.

    The Pats have a slew of players who were returners in college. But once they were drafted, it was obvious that wasn't going to be a major part of their game. Welker is different. He IS a punt returner. No need to explain the value of field position, but it's obvious the idea was for him to be the primary PR in the hope he'd improve that important phase of the game, while he earns his way as a WR.

    None of these newly acquired WRs even know the offense yet. I'm certainly not enamoured with anyone in particular -- until they've proven themselves.
  28. AndyJohnson

    AndyJohnson PatsFans.com Veteran PatsFans.com Supporter

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    While you did point out that returns have to do with more than the returnman, you kind of did it in a dismissive way. (nice little player, measly 22 yards, etc)
    But the fact is that return stats have as much, or more to do with who is blocking than who is returning.

    You cannot judge Welkers return abilities by simply looking at #s. (by the way, I think the #s would bear out Miami has had weak return games for a long time)
    I judge Welker as a return guy by watching him return.
    Punts, IMO, are a better indication of the returner (as opposed to blockers) than KOs. Most KRs are stopped by more than one tackler, or a group of guys in the area cutting off the lanes. Punt returns are usually much more about how aggressively you get upfield, and making guys miss.

    I know that when we kicked to the Fins, Welker worried me. not because of stats, but because (especially on punts) he was extrememly aggressive. He caught short punts on the run and returned at full speed. He ran first, picked his way second. A great example is tim dwight. I had high expectations for Dwight as a pr in 2005. MANY times the other team outkicked coverage, and I expected Dwight to get a big return. Instead he was tentative, not getting to full speed, but more concerned with the blocks developing. I think that his pr failures were the reason he was 1 and done here.

    A punt returner is good, and dangerous when he runs at breakneck speed and worries only about the next guy in the way, rather than being 'patient' waiting for the blocking to set up. Why? Good pr blocking spreads players across the field and creates openings. There is no wedge, defenders do not arrive at the same area of the field at the same time.

    Welker, from what I have seen is exactly the 'good' I described above.

    In terms of KRs, the success we had last year was mostly catch the kick run full speed, make one cut. Welker seems to fit that. Speed and blocking was what made our KR good last year. I think Welker will throve as a returnman based on everything I sawin the handful of games I have seen him play.
  29. Remix 6

    Remix 6 Rookie

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    top returnmen dont avg 22 ypr

    playmakers score more than 1 TD receiving

    ideal slot..i guess
    Last edited: Mar 12, 2007
  30. patsox23

    patsox23 Rookie

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    This has nothing to do with being negative about the Patriots. AS I SAID IN THE FIRST POST IN THIS THREAD, "I Like Wes Welker." This is about accuracy and fairly and honestly judging what this guy is and what the expectations should be. There is a world of difference there.
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