Before You Even Start, Shut the Hell Up

Posted by Irregaahhdless

I’m already bracing for it — the backlash that’s sure to come from Wes Welker’s apparent season-ending injury today. In fact, as I’m typing this, I’m positive that Dan Shaughnessy is licking the stamp on his column that will include statements like:

a. “What was Belichick thinking playing Welker?”

b. An allusion to Belichick having lost his touch. (First the Colts game earlier this year and now this.)

c. Some out-of-date reference to Larry Bird.

Of course I’m bummed that the ghost of a chance that the Pats had to make a run in the playoffs disappeared during one awkward cut on the Reliant Stadium turf. But in no way am I (nor should any clear-thinking Pats fan) think that Welker being the game was the wrong decision.

First off, the play happened on the Patriots’ first drive of the game. Even notorious close-to-the-vest coach Jim Caldwell had his starters in during the first quarter of a snowstorm (considering the footing, you have to imagine there was a much higher injury risk in Buffalo today). And the bottom line is this isn’t college with 100-player rosters and ample subs. You can only dress 45 on game days in the NFL. You’re always going to have some starters in the game. (Additionally, the Pats play many three-receiver sets and only have six receivers on the roster — two of whom are really just special teams guys just happen to have “WR” next to their name on the roster.)

Secondly, the injury was a fluke. If Welker had been getting tackled or was blown up while returning a punt, there’s at least a bit of an argument. But this happened on a play where he was untouched. And it happened to one of the league’s toughest and most durable receivers. He was making the same cut he’s made 100 times in games this year (and likely 1,000 times in practice) on a dry, grass field. Sometimes weird shit happens. And if it had happened in practice — an event as likely (if not more) as probable as doing it in a game — would folks be saying, “Why was Welker practicing?” Of course not. Because that’d be retarded.

Anyway, anyone who wrote a “Jim Caldwell shouldn’t have pulled his starters” last week column is automatically DQ’d from being allowed to write one saying that Welker shouldn’t have been in the game. That should eliminate 90 percent of all columnists. For the other 10 percent who are considering questioning Welker playing today, here’s a thought: Don’t. You’ll only be embarrassing yourself.

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