Keeping track of slot receiver, Wes Welker was one of the fundamental reasons the New York Jets were able to defeat the New England Patriots in the divisional playoffs at Gillette stadium last January. However, it might have been a tip off from Patriots coach Bill Belichick that gave Jets a reason to trail Welker throughout the game.
Before the game began, Welker was present in front of the media for a pre-match session. Welker used the opportunity to upset the Jets by foot-modeling in the press conference. It so happened, that Jets coach Rex Ryan and his wife had posted a foot-fetish video on the Internet and Welker tried to imitate them with several coy allusions.
The result: Angry Jets. Belichick was forced to park Welker on the bench for the first series of what became a 28-21 defeat for the Patriots. At the end of the day Welker had 5 catches (only 2 to contribute from the first 3 quarters) for 57 yards, and obviously no touchdowns.
On Friday, Welker was asked if his benching role contributed towards a slow start for the Patriots, especially on the opening drive that ended in an interception. Welker commented on the issue saying, “Oh, I don't know. It doesn't really matter at this point. We've kind of moved on from that game and everything that happened, and we're just looking forward to this Sunday. Very excited. It's a rivalry game. The Jets are always fun to play.”
Welker admits that although he was shaken from the match he has recovered. NFL analysts would have to agree as Welker is off to an impressive start this season. Welker has 40 passes for 616 yards and 5 touchdowns in 4 games. If Welker continues at this pace then he has a chance to make records for the most catches and yards in a season. Welker is also averaging 15.4 yards per catch, whereas his career statistic denotes 10.7.
Belichick is all praise for Welker, the coach admits his receiver has been productive throughout his career. He currently averages at 108 catches in his previous 4 Patriots seasons. Moreover, Welker looks in better shape after last year’s reconstructive knee surgery. “I don't think it's anything that's been planned, or I don't think he's running routes differently or eating more broccoli or anything,” Belichick said. He added, “I think some of that, it just kind of happens.”