|Notes and Observations Week 16: Patriots Escape from New York with 17-16 Win; Clinch First Round Bye.||Connelly’s Top Ten: Patriots Win By Less Than a FOOT||Panic Mode in Full Effect, Minutemen are Struggling||Patriots Survive Gritty Challenge From Jets|
Dear Wes Welker,
First off it’s great to see that you’re recovering extremely fast. I was scared when you were injured during that Texans game in Week 17. The Patriots desperately needed you in the playoffs and unfortunately, we were bounced in the Wild Card round by the Ravens.
Last season you were ridiculous. I mean, 123 receptions! That’s ludicrous. You have an unbelievable way of getting open and your chemistry with Tom Brady could be the best in football since Peyton and Marvin. Since coming to New England, you have become a fan favorite and one of the best wide receivers in football. It’s exciting to see you play every week and see how many receptions you will rack up.
So please, don’t ruin it.
I don’t want to be mean, but I am afraid you are going to throw it all away by trying to come back to soon. MCL and ACL injuries are scary and to completely tear both at the same time can jeopardize a career. Remember when Shawne Merriman was “Lights Out”? Then he suffered crucial ligament damage on his knees and even tried playing on his injured legs. Since returning, he has not been the same dynamic player he once was. It even appeared that the Chargers wanted nothing to do with him this offseason and no other team showed interest in the past All-Pro linebacker. See what can go wrong?
Wes, I do not want you to end up this way.
Remember when Tom Brady tore his ACL? He did not rush to come back. He rehabbed, appeared to suffer a few setbacks, but took his time to get back to playing great football. He was not the same QB we saw during the 2007 undefeated campaign, but he was still one of the best. He did not try to jump back before he was ready, mainly because he knew he had great teammates to support him. Especially Matt Cassel. You should do the same.
Wes, there is always Randy Moss, who when he wants, can be one of the best wide receivers in the game. There’s also Torry Holt. He has the potential to be a fantastic number two for a while, although I did once say that about Joey Galloway. Also, don’t forget about Julian Edelman, who is a great poor-man’s Wes Welker. Throw in Sam Aiken and a healthy Brandon Tate and the Patriots might be alright at the receiver position until you are fully healed.
I am happy that Bill Belichick placed you on the Physically Unable to Perform list. He is showing that you getting healthy is the most important thing. You do not need to be banged around during training camp. Take some time off and get ready. Training camp is for the new guys to get familiar with Brady’s style, you and Moss should just be mentors. Randy will take small reps and jog, like a future Hall of Fame guy should. You just need to watch and let Edelman do his best impression of you.
I know the AFC East has gotten real tough, well except for the Bills. The Jets and Dolphins will both be gunning for the AFC East title, but New England will not give it up without a fight and whenever you’re healthy enough to join, you will be one of the Pats’ most dangerous weapons. Remember you are the first receiver in NFL history with three straight seasons of 110 or more receptions. You almost broke the single season reception record last year, AND YOU MISSED TWO GAMES!!!
Wes, you have the potential to be the best wide receiver in football. Not Andre Johnson, Larry Fitzgerald, Brandon Marshall, or even Ochocinco can create space like you. However, your knees need to be one hundred percent healthy for you to be at the top of that list. The way you cut and fake linebackers, or defensive backs is the most crucial part of your game. Do not rush back and risk re-injuring yourself.
So, thank you Wes Welker for the past few seasons, they were amazing. I look forward to where you go from here. At the pace you’re at, it seems Canton is not an unrealistic goal, but injuries have ended careers similar to yours and dashed their hope at immortality. Being healthy and able to contribute is the only way to establish yourself as one of the best in the game. So get healthy Wes and I look forward to seeing what you can do during the 2010 season.