Now that Wes Welker will no longer have Tom Brady throwing the pigskin to him, you would think Welker’s legend would slowly start to die. Normally, that would be the case. But fortunately for Wes Welker, he will go from one future hall of fame quarterback in Tom Brady, to another future hall of fame quarterback in Peyton Manning. Not a bad trade. But the big question here is what will this change do for Wes Welker. It was very clear that his move from Miami which had no solid quarterback, to the New England Patriots who had Tom Brady was a great move, and escalated Welker’s numbers. Welker was Brady’s security blanket; he was the guy that Brady could go to whenever it was needed. Welker began to fall out of graces with Patriot fans due to a couple of untimely drops toward the end of the last two seasons. But, I’d just like to throw out it out there that those weren’t the most catchable balls. As I stated briefly in my last article, Brady’s accuracy does seem to be fading slightly. But those balls were passes that Welker has seemed to have been able to come down with in years past. However, this is just something that Welker has to deal with living in the shadow of Tom Brady. In any pass that wasn’t caught that seemed to be 50/50 blame on quarter and wide receiver, Tom Brady is going to get the benefit of the doubt nearly every time in the eyes of Patriots fans.
Welker will now be receiving passes from Peyton Manning. And the question is what can we expect from this change of scenery? Welker was the model of consistency with the Patriots. He played all 16 games in 4 of his 6 seasons with the Patriots. And just to throw it in there, he played all 16 games with the Dolphins as well. During that span with the patriots, Welker caught in between 111-123 passes, except for in 2010. Those are some extremely consistent receptions over the years. While players changed around Welker, he continued to produce at essentially the same rate. So how will Welker fair when he goes to a team that has two receivers that contribute heavily to their team? Only time will tell. But that won’t stop me from speculating what we could see. From what has been said during the offseason, Manning and the coaching staff are studying how Welker was used with the Patriots. So it wouldn’t be a shock to see the Bronco’s line Welker up in a role that is extremely similar to how he was used with Tom Brady and the Patriots. What this should mean for Welker if he continues to work inside as he has done in the past, and run similar routes, Welker is likely going to receive a lot of targets. And I feel as though those targets should be equivalent to what Welker saw with New England. Manning tends to build chemistry with new wide receivers very quickly, as can be seen from his time with the Colts, and the ordinary receivers he made look great. So I don’t’ feel as there will be any real learning curve with Welker. As far as Welker’s touchdown totals are concerned, again, it would be very likely to be in the 6 to 10 range as it was with the Patriots. The reason for this is Decker and Thomas. Thomas is really stepping into his prime, and you would have to believe that he is going to expand upon that 10 touchdown total he had last year. And defenses are going to have an even tougher time double covering him because of Decker, who had 13 touchdowns last year, and the addition of Welker. The Broncos themselves are going to have great aerial attack. It’s just a matter of how all of the targets are going to get distributed between these 3 great receiving options. Wes Welker will continue to be a model of consistency with the Broncos, his legend will continue to grow, and in the future these numbers will be celebrated in Canton, Ohio.