The aura that surrounds Tom Brady, Bill Belichick and the New England Patriots can really cloud things from time to time. When the team decided to pass on free agent wide receiver Wes Welker (to Brady’s chagrin) in favor of a “younger, better version” of Welker in Danny Amendola, they were largely given the benefit of the doubt.
Belichick has done it again. Does he know something we don’t know about Welker? The Patriots are at it again!
Welker leads the NFL with eight receiving touchdowns. He is sixth in the entire NFL with 37 receptions (on 50 targets). He is the most productive WR in all of football according to DYAR (defense-adjusted yards above replacement, per Football Outsiders) with a mark of 190. And while he might not be catching 14 balls a game like he did with the Patriots, the high-impact of his catches is reflected in his 35.9% DVOA (defense-adjusted value above average, also from Football Outsiders).
With the emergence of Julius Thomas, the ridiculously good play of Knowshon Moreno, and the presence of Demaryius Thomas and Eric Decker on the outside, the Broncos do not need to put too big a load on Welker. The even distribution of targets among all of Peyton Manning‘s targets indicates as much:
Welker – 50
Decker – 50
D. Thomas – 50
Julius Thomas – 43
And that is a good thing, because if they kept track of ugly/violent hits taken by diminutive NFL players, Welker would be the NFL leader.
The production is there as Manning continues to put Welker in the right spots to help this offense. So yes, I would say things are working out pretty well for Welker and the Broncos so far.