When it comes to wide receivers in the NFL, Wes Welker doesn’t get the same kind of attention that Larry Fitzgerald gets, that Andre Johnson gets or even that his own teammate Randy Moss gets, but Welker’s importance cannot be understated. For the past three seasons since arriving in Foxborough, Welker has been a picture of consistency as he has posted over 100 catches every year, is the perfect complement to Randy Moss, and has been a huge piece of the Patriots passing attack. In fact, even though Moss is the guy with the accolades, I think you can make an argument that the New England’s passing game suffers more when they don’t have Wes Welker as opposed to Randy Moss. Welker does it all. He has great hands, is almost impossible to cover when he’s running across the field, blocks well for someone his size and has tremendous run after catch ability.
You cannot replace a guy like Wes Welker and while it may be tough to see his true value all you have to do is watch New England’s offense try and operate without him. I give a lot of credit to Julian Edelman for what he has been able to do in trying to fill Welker’s shoes, but at the end of the day, he’s not Wes Welker. New England is a different team when Welker can’t take the field and because of the serious knee injury he sustained against the Texans in the last game of the regular season, that could be something that the Patriots find out at the beginning of next year.
Wes Welker joined The Sports Animal in Oklahoma City with Jim Traber to talk about the injury he sustained against the Texans, when he is going to have surgery, what kind of timetable he has set for his return, and what happened to the Patriots this past weekend against Baltimore.
On how the injury happened:
“Yeah, I pretty much knew right when it happened that my season was probably over. Then talking to the doctors, they let me know what they think probably happened which I probably already knew what happened. It was kind of tough especially that first 24 hours or so was rough. Once you came to the realization of what it was, it was just another obstacle that you were trying to overcome. All the texts, emails and everything from everybody, just trying to lift your spirits. You just gotta move on from it and realize that you have a lot of work ahead of you to get back for the next year.”
On when he plans on having surgery on his knee:
“Not really. Haven’t really decided yet. We’ve gotta let the MCL heal first and then we can go in and work on the ACL. We’re just taking our time right now. We’ve got a little bit of time right now to wait on that to heal and just kind of get ready and make sure that we exhaust all the options and find out the best one for myself to give me the best chance to get out there on the field.”
On this being a down year for the Patriots and the team not meeting expectations:
“Yeah, I definitely understand what you’re saying especially when you win 17 or 18 games in a row you kinda look at this team like we’re invincible and things like that. This is definitely a down year for us, our standards and what we want to live up to. We were definitely a different team this year than what we were in the past. We had a lot of veteran guys that were a staple on this team that weren’t there anymore. You gotta fill that void somehow and that takes time. We definitely didn’t have the people in there to fill that void that we needed.”
On the field at Reliant Stadium:
“I don’t know. Definitely the field was rough. It’s almost like I replay that play in my head so many times now. I remember taking that step and I was gonna kind of try and explode through but with that field I didn’t know if the ground was going to come out from under me, if it was going to give a little bit, or if it was going to stay firm. I remember in my mind thinking I didn’t know what was going to happen in regards to that. From there, my knee just buckled and it was what it was. I hate to bash it or anything but it’s not the best field out there. There’s a lot of inconsistencies as far as being able to play on and things like that.”
On the support that he is getting from his teammates:
“Yeah, no absolutely. I think we have a lot of guys that give a lot to this team and want the best for it. I’d like to think I fall into that category and just try to make the team better in moving us in the right direction.”