Oct 23, 2014; Denver, CO, USA; Denver Broncos wide receiver Emmanuel Sanders (10) following his touchdown with tight end Julius Thomas (80) and wide receiver Wes Welker (83) in the second quarter against the San Diego Chargers at Sports Authority Field at Mile High. Mandatory Credit: Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports
Wes Welker is sort of like Pac Man. Instead of gliding around in a small area and chomping on pellets, Welker works from the slot and gobbles up catches. At least, that’s been his MO throughout his NFL career.
Welker’s first year with the Denver Broncos last year saw a variety of results. He didn’t catch as many passes — he didn’t have to — but he also caught a career-high 10 touchdowns despite missing a handful of games with concussion issues. This season, Welker missed a few games due to suspension, and has come back and is catching even fewer passes than he did last year, prompting a very interesting comment in a post by Jeff Legwold on ESPN.com.
“Yeah it’s definitely been different, for sure,” Welker said. “Would I want the ball more? Yes. As long as we’re winning games and we’re being productive on offense and doing those things, I’m good with however we get that done. It’s kind of strange being, I feel like, the weak link of our offense. If I’m the weak link, we’re going to be OK.”
If you’ve never played wide receiver, running a route at full speed and not seeing the ball that often is pretty deflating, especially when you feel like you can be a real asset with the ball in your hands. Still, Welker has only 19 catches this season — one touchdown — and 10 of them have gone for first downs, including some clutch ones.
The Broncos need Welker, as was evidenced by their first three games. Welker opens so many different things up for the offense and even if he’s not the guy who is primarily catching the passes. Teams have to account for him in the slot because if there’s one thing that Welker is always going to be good at, it’s getting open.
With a big game coming against the New England Patriots, it would be a perfect time for Welker to have one of these big, three-touchdown games Peyton Manning seems to be handing out now. Manning certainly knows when receivers are not getting the ball, but he has been very praiseworthy of Welker even in this time of low production for him.
I wouldn’t be surprised in the least to see Welker come out on Sunday and be the primary recipient of Manning passes on the way to a Broncos score.