Being a Boston-based sports blog, how could we not touch on the whole Welker situation? I didn’t want to and put it off because, frankly, I’m indifferent about it. My general essence over this ordeal can be summed up by one word, “meh”. I mean we clearly had this coming. As much as I wanted Wes to stay, this was inevitable after how things have been panning out over the last few years. You can argue that he chokes in the big game situations, but the guy put up crazy numbers for us and left it all on the field. I’m not going to blame him, or the Pats for that matter. The NFL is a business. Belichick, Kraft, and the front office made a business move that they feel made sense to better their business. Granted, letting him go to Denver wasn’t ideal for us in New England, this isn’t the first time the Pats have made risky moves in terms of signing, or not signing, a big player. Also, keep in mind Danny Amendola isn’t some scrub. The guy can play. Oh and in case you forgot, Brady will still be the one throwing the ball to him. I don’t know about you but the way the Patriots have completely dominated over the last decade, and that’s not an opinion, I think I can safely put my trust in Bill and company to make the right offseason moves for the team. There’s always a plan. With that said, will we miss Wes Welker? Of course. You haven’t watched a single Pats game over the last five years if you say different. Just how much though, is the question? Only time will tell.
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Patriots Off-Season Options
Getting Things Down Pat: With the latest news from the New England Patriots regarding Wes Welker wanting to “test the waters of free agency”, and the team failing to franchise any of their free agents, one has to wonder…what will the Pats do this off-season?
The Patriots have two primary needs this off-season. 1. A solid number one or number two wide receiver (should they fail to bring back Welker) and a productive cornerback/defensive back to help with the pass defense. Here’s a rundown of who the Pats can sign/draft to fill those needs:
Slot Machine: Wes Welker has no doubt been a great offensive weapon for the New England Patriots. Welker has caught 110 or more passes for 1,100 yards or more in five of his six seasons with the Patriots. He had a career year in 2011 with 122 grabs with 1,569 yards and 9 TDS. Welker however, is aging at 31, and is likely going to use his impressive Patriots resume’ to land himself a big pay-day somewhere else.
With all that said, and the fact that Welker is willing to talk to other teams, the Pats need a plan B should re-signing Welker fall through.
Here are the top five free agent pass catchers available:
Mike Wallace- In 2012 with Pittsburgh: 64 REC, 836 YDS, 8 TDS.
Greg Jennings- In 2012 with Green Bay (in 8 games): 36 REC, 366 YDS, 4 TDS.
Danny Amendola- In 2012 with St. Louis: 63 REC, 666 YDS , 3TDS.
Austin Collie- In 2012 with Indianapolis: 1 catch for 6 yards missed the season due to injury.
Brian Hartline- In 2012 with Miami: 74 REC, 1083 YDS, 1 TD.
Granted, those numbers don’t exactly replace Welker, but the Pats won’t need to completely replace him if they can land a solid receiver like the ones listed above.
Realistically Greg Jennings and Green Bay will probably agree to re-sign and Mike Wallace will probably take his talents elsewhere for more money than he’s worth. Austin Collie, when healthy has been reliable in Indy, but I don’t see him in New England next year. Brian Hartline had a career season last year for the Dolphins, so he should stay in South Beach.
So, that leaves Danny Amendola as the Pats most realistic option, as pointed out by Chris. Amendola has been a solid slot receiver for Rams quarterback Sam Bradford and would be a good pickup should Welker leave.
Side Note: The Patriots only have 5 picks in this year’s NFL Draft (one in rounds 1,2, and 3 and two picks in round 7). The Pats will pick 29th in the first round and could wind up in a position to draft highly ranked wide receivers Keenan Allen out of California, Justin Hunter of Tennessee, or Cordarrelle Patterson also Tennessee.
No Thanks, I’ll Pass: The Patriots pass defense ranked 29th overall in 2012, giving up a total of 4,342 yards for an average of 271 yards per game. New England also gave up 27 passing TDS, allowed an average quarterback rating of 86.9, and a 62 percent pass completion rate.
Given those results, the Pats may want to hire one or two of these free agent pass defenders:
Ed Reed- In 2012 with Baltimore: 58 tackles and 4 interceptions.
Dashon Goldson- In 2012 with San Francisco: 69 tackles, 1 forced fumble, 3 interceptions.
Antoine Cason- In 2012 with San Diego: 73 tackles, 2 forced fumbles, 2 interceptions.
Quentin Jammer- In 2012 with San Diego: 64 tackles, 1 forced fumble, 3 interceptions.
LaRon Landry- In 2012 with New York (Jets): 99 tackles, 4 forced fumbles, 2 interceptions.
Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie- In 2012 with Philadelphia: 51 tackles and 3 interceptions.
Given the numbers the Patriots pass defense put up last season, any one of these available DB’s are significant upgrades to the secondary. Realistically Ed Reed, Laron Landry and Dashon Goldson will likely all re-sign with their respective teams or elsewhere. That leaves Antoine Cason, Quentin Jammer, and Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie. Again, picking up any one of those guys would be a step in the right direction.
Side Note: The Patriots 29th draft pick position could also allow them to go after a few defensive players such as Kevin Minter inside linebacker out of LSU, Blidi Wreh-Wilson cornerback of UCONN, or Desmond Trufant of Washington.
Final Thoughts: The Patriots have plenty of time to consider these and many other options in the weeks to come. It will no doubt be interesting to see what New England choose to do this off-season. What do you think will happen? Will Wes Welker stay? If he goes, who should the Patriots pursue? leave a comment below.
Pats-Welker Cant Agree, Will Play Season with Franchise Tag
The New England Patriots and Wes Welker could not come to an agreement yesterday. He will play the next season at a 1 year contract worth $9.5 million. Now that the deadline has passed, the Patriots cannot renegotiate with Welker until after the season is over.
Other notable players such as Ray Rice (5 years $40 Million) and Matt Forte (4 years $32 Million) struck deals just before the deadline yesterday, getting the payday they deserved.
Welker, with 330 catches in the past three years, wasn’t as lucky. He had earlier signed the franchise tender to show the Patriots faith, but by doing so may have cornered himself. The Patriots felt no reason to sign a 31 year old reciever who has previously torn his ACL to a long term contract when they have him for this season. Whether they will franchise him again next year, sign him to a longer contract, or just let him go remains to be seen.
I would have liked to see the Patriots sign Welker to a 3 year deal totally anywhere from $24-28 million. That would have been around the same contract that they gave to Randy Moss. Reward him for always being true to the Patriots and the hard work that he has given them. If he plays well anyways they are going to be on the hook for over $11 million to franchise him again, or give him a new three year contract. This just doesn’t seem to make much sense from the Patriots standpoint, unless they are counting Welker to have a down year.
Gronk’s Going Viral! (Again)
For those of you who haven’t seen it yet, Patriots star Tight End Rob Gronkowski has made a YouTube video to make his case for why he should be on the cover of Madden 2013. I guess he couldn’t care less about the Madden curse.. He is going up against one player from every other team, but also going up against Wes Welker. Anyways, this video is hilarious and just describes Gronk in full. Take a look!
Tuesday’s Top Tweets
Due to popular demand we’d like to welcome back the regular weekly posts (aka Weekend Recaps, Tuesday’s Top Tweets, Video Match-Ups, a new Throwback Thursday, and of course the Friday Funnies)! Enjoy!
If you have any tips don’t forget to email us your ideas at email@example.com!
Patriot Nation: Not Our Finest Moment
I don’t know if anyone caught on, but yesterday was more or less a day of silence here at the Boston Sports Blog. A protest, hometown sorrow, reluctance to think about the event that occurred
Sunday…call it what you will, but it was in everyone’s best interest to just leave it out of the equation. After all, there really is nothing to say.
With a day gone by we’ve now had some time to reflect on the game, although it’ll definitely take a whole lot longer to get over it. Regardless, I’m not going to dive into the details of the game because we all know how it ended and no one wants to hear it. Instead, how about the aftermath? It hurts to lose to New York in any sport, whether a preseason game or spring training baseball game. What happened after the Pat’s loss Sunday, notice I’m calling it a Pat’s loss not a Giants’ victory, was very “unPatriot-like”. The two most obvious:
-Gronk and Co. getting Gronked (that’s an understatement) at a post game party
-Mrs. Tom Brady ripping on the receivers
A very New York-esque reaction to a loss if you ask me. We’re not used to seeing this in Boston, especially from a Belichick disciplined Patriot squad. It’s hard to hate on Gronk for doing his thing but it’s just not exactly the same a few hours post loss. Granted, Giselle isn’t a player and the rest of the team came to the receiver’s defense, here’s my question. Which incident was the worst to see as a Pats fan?
Flaw in an NFL rule? How much did it effect the Patriots?
Well that was devastating…I’m not going to sit here and tell you a full story on how or why the Patriots lost this game, its over and done with. I’m just as upset as the next guy and I’m sure none of you want to hear any more about it.
Obviously there has been some post game comments by Tom Brady’s wife taking shots at their wide-receivers lack of ability to bring in the big catch, but then again what does she know? Here comes something I’m sure most of you haven’t heard about.
Quick rewind here: Go back to the Patriots play with 17 seconds left with the ball on their own 44 yard line. Brady lines up and out trots 12 Giants defenders. Was it intentional? Doesn’t really matter anymore and if it was then it’s a smart call by Coughlin and the Giants staff. They run the play; Brady sees the flag and then takes his shot down the field. The pass falls incomplete with 9 seconds to go in the game and the referee makes his call. The Giants get a 5-yard penalty for too many men on the field, and yes that’s the right call. But what about the clock? The clock stayed at 9 seconds remaining. Some of you might be asking what my point is here. So instead of the Patriots getting two, or even three shots at the end zone they end up with one. What is 5-yards at this point in the game? It’s nothing. Anyone in his or her right mind would exchange 8 seconds run off the clock for 5 yards at this point. What prevents a defense from sending 16 guys out there in this situation? It’s a very slim possibility any team completes a big play against 16 defenders. Clearly this is not the reason for the outcome of this game, but I am pretty certain the NFL will be changing this rule.
Wes, Meet Twitter
With the lack of Tebow heroics this weekend, NFL chatter had to look elsewhere for news during the week. In fact, it can be found right here in Boston, as top news early this week has been Wes Welker’s arrival to Twitter (@WesWelker). The Pat’s stud got a true taste for the Twitter craze right off the bat, seeing his followers rise up to 80,000+ in a couple days. Using this to connect with his fans, Welker revealed he would be at Whole Foods in Bellingham doing an appearance for the energy bar he endorses. Little did he know all 80,000 would show up. Little bit of an exaggeration, but you get the point. The line was out the door and the busy athlete wasn’t able to make time for everyone, as he needed to continue prepping for the game against Miami Christmas Eve. One follower even tweeted her complaint about the appearance at Wes, to which he responded.
What a guy. How could you not love him? Play maker on the field, gentleman off. But seriously, you have to love the camaraderie the Pats have. Ocho, who notoriously abuses Twitter, and even Gronk have been going back and forth with Welker over Twitter. I’m telling ya, the thing is taking over. If you don’t have one you’re missing out! For the full article check out CSNNE.com’s post.