Posted August 08, 2013

Off the Snap: Bill Belichick is still in Wes Welker’s head

AFC East, AFC West, Off the Snap
Bill Belichick and Wes Welker, wrapping it up last December.

Bill Belichick and Wes Welker, wrapping it up last December. (Getty Images/Boston Globe)

Catching you up on the latest must-read news and analysis from around the web …

• When I spoke to Wes Welker last month, he certainly sounded happy about his new role with the Denver Broncos. After one of the most productive spans in NFL history — 672 receptions for 7,459 yards and 37 touchdowns in just six seasons with the New England Patriots — Welker moved to Denver after the Pats tried to lowball him with a two-year, $10 million offer. Of course, any receiver would be happy with a transfer from Tom Brady to Peyton Manning -– no drop-off there — but in the upcoming Fantasy Football Preview issue of SI, Welker went into detail about his relationship with Bill Belichick, and where things went wrong.

“It was just kind of hard,” Welker told Chris Ballard, “one of those deals where you have to endure him, put up with him. … But he does it to everybody, it’s the way he is.”

Amazingly enough, Belichick’s taciturn moods still dominate Welker’s mentality to a degree.

“When I’m answering questions from the Denver media, I’m not worried about what the Broncos’ people are going to think,” Welker says. “I’m worried about what Belichick will think. Isn’t that crazy?”

Not really. Anyone who’s worked in a dysfunctional situation (and we’re assuming dysfunction based on Welker’s comments) knows that it takes a while to get that out of your kitchen, even when you’re in a better situation. When you look back, it seems that the root of the issues between Belichick and Welker started to pop up before the 2012 season. The Pats were unable to re-sign Welker to a long-term extension and placed the franchise tag on him instead.

Welker was targeted just five times in the season opener against the Tennessee Titans (he caught three passes for 14 yards), and it took a while for the gameplans to feature the usual number of targets for Brady’s most reliable receiver. After he caught 13 passes on 15 targets for 104 yards and a touchdown against the Broncos on Oct. 7, Welker told the local Comcast affiliate that “It’s nice to stick it in Bill’s face every once in a while.”

Welker said it with a wink, but there seemed to be some truth behind it. Of course, he issued the standard New England non-denial denial the next day.

“It was a joke. I don’t know what else to say other than it was a joke. Bill and I — whether you all believe it or not — have a good relationship. I’ll make sure to keep that in-house going forward.”

Welker’s in a different house, but his old coach is still renting a room in his head. The Broncos travel to Foxboro for the Sunday night game on Nov. 24, so we haven’t heard the last of this.

• Hazing the rookies? Well, that’s been a training camp staple for decades, and giving the rooks “interesting” haircuts is a newer (and distressingly unfashionable) wrinkle. In Arizona, defensive tackle Darnell Dockett is in charge of these not-so-Supercuts, and he posted a few examples on his Twitter feed Wednesday evening.

Ouch. Cutting your own jersey number into a guy’s hair, as Dockett did to Tyrann Mathieu? That’s pretty bad. Still, we feel the sorriest for linebacker Kevin Minter, who got the modern art masterpiece on the top of his head. We kinda like Alex Okafor’s Mr. T look, though.

• And hey! The preseason starts tonight, which means that there’s sort of actual football! Yay! If it doesn’t ring your bell just yet, you could always do what Audibles compadre Chris Burke and I did today … a preseason fantasy football challenge. Now, THAT’s geeky.

Anyway, here are Thursday’s games:

Baltimore Ravens at Tampa Bay Buccaneers, 7:30 p.m. ET
Cincinnati Bengals at Atlanta Falcons, 8 p.m. ET
St. Louis Rams at Cleveland Browns, 8 p.m. ET
Washington Redskins at Tennessee Titans, 8 p.m. ET
Denver Broncos at San Francisco 49ers, 8 p.m. ET
Seattle Seahawks at San Diego Chargers, 10 p.m. ET

64 comments
JulesG
JulesG

People who don't play NFL football and probably never have calling an NFL player a "wuss"....man it's so easy being a FAN! We get to turn on the t.v....root for teams and players, analyze them to death when they don't make us happy, and most importantly, criticize them for anything we disagree with!

"Hey Wes, you are a wuss" - so says the guy surfing the Internet for sports stories

LOL!

Anyway, no one "likes" Bill Bellicheck....he is like the Kobe of coaches...socially inept, but great at what he does. I see nothing wrong with Wes having a "woosah" moment....

Mr.MayorMarionBarry
Mr.MayorMarionBarry

Wes needs to smoke some crack with hookers and cheer hims self up...

Ciscos
Ciscos

Wes Welker is the new face for being a wussie... my coach called me out... waaah waaah waaah... Dude left for more money, pure and simple.

Kenny S
Kenny S

Wes is beginning to look like an old girlfriend that just can't let it go. Wes, we've moved on, it's time for you to also.

SweetLightCrude
SweetLightCrude

Let's see... Wes Welker is a nice but hardly remarkable receiver in Miamia... Belichick brings Welker to New England... In New England, Welker turns into 100-catch-per-year machine... Welker makes millions upon millions and becomes an attractive free agent who can go to Denver...  Welker doesn't like Belichick.

OK, Wes. You have every right to your opinion. You just sound like a clown thinking anyone should care. Or being unable to think aloud about how the very things that you hated just maybe were part of what made you great and rich and all the rest. 

You will spend the rest of your days in comfort and ease in large part because you had the good fortune to work for a jerk for, what, 5 years? Get a grip.



los923
los923

Welker should be glad be didn't play for Parcells, or Halas or Lombardi or Shula, just shut up already. He was nothing in Miami till he played in their system.

los923
los923

He may be a shmuck but all he does is win.

PaulSharpe
PaulSharpe

No shocker here...   Belichick has ALWAYS been a schmuck...  No one likes him....  duh!!?

6marK6
6marK6

Can we please stop saying Welker dropped that ball in the Super Bowl? That was a terrible pass and a very difficult pass to catch. I still have no idea why Brady has never gotten any grief for missing a wide open receiver.

DirtyPantiesLover1
DirtyPantiesLover1

bring back T.O and chad johnson. we wanna see diva wide receivers. this is boring lame talk about a fat old coach.

RescuedfromESPN
RescuedfromESPN

Meh, the Pats should have no problem adjusting. They came within a drop of going to the SB (and winning, come on they were facing the bears.) when Reche Caldwell was their top receiver

NoQNoSuperBowl
NoQNoSuperBowl

A guy complaining that his old boss was mean. This has never happened before. Welker must be the only one.

Washheightsboy
Washheightsboy

That awkward moment when you realize the rookie haircuts resemble your own regular hairstyle.

KantSpelwrite
KantSpelwrite

Wes should let his play do the talking and  shut his mouth about his past team. What good does it do to yap about your former boss or team. Go forward and don't look back,

decadofdominanc
decadofdominanc

Poor little Wus Welker is afraid of Wild Bill Belichick. If you were so turned off by him, why did you call the Patriots last minute before signing with Denver, hoping to work something out ? Stop your little whining and move on. Im sure when you come here in November you will get your little ovation from the fans. But I will remember and Im sure Bill remembers that you should have caught the ball. For that matter Gisele said the same at the time and she still remebers. BYE WUS.

Navycross
Navycross

You humiliate and berate people long enough, no amount of success or money is worth staying. People who get out from under Belichick never seem to have a kind word, except that he was their coach and we won. If it were not for Brady, the great Belichick would not exist. Granted you play to win, but many teams have won with coaches who don't behave anything like Bill does. Add in having to watch everything you do and say, that isn't exactly a fun way to go through life.

drew311777
drew311777

I played MS, HS, college ball... if you're coach isn't telling you how to improve for the good of the team, he's not doing his job... sorry if you're feelings are hurt cuz you were "singled" out in front of your team... my advice... work harder and carry some kleenox for those tears... 

LVGRAMPS
LVGRAMPS

Welker great receiver , comments lack class. Perform and forget the past.

DjangoZeaman
DjangoZeaman

Nice to hear from someone who has escaped the Belichick bubble. Not surprising.

27ringswhew
27ringswhew

Tom, you're going to be in trouble this yr..

27ringswhew
27ringswhew

Anyone ever notice..it could be 90 degrees out and he would still have on a hoodie..the dude is simply creepy..

Wisconsin Death Trip
Wisconsin Death Trip

Gee, Ya THINK? Narcissists and Ego maniacs are always hard to get along with....... 

LKuroda
LKuroda

Breaking news, former employee complains about boss.

gymviking
gymviking

Sounds like contract negotiations went bad and there were some bad feelings....bad for the Pats, good for the Broncos, from what I can see.

SweetLightCrude
SweetLightCrude

@JulesG I think there is no such thing as easy money. Welker gets paid because we (fans) care, to the point of doing what you and I are doing (reading about these guys and viewing ads, posting on bulletin boards and viewing ads, watching the games and a bunch of ads.) If we stop caring, he's out of a job. 

I don't know if that gives us the right to criticize Welker, but ... I kinda think it does. He is richly rewarded because of our intense interest, and the downside is he gets criticized. He can't go to dinner in peace. Oh, well.

You say it's so easy being a fan. True. And I'm pretty sure being an NFL player is not all good times. I bet sometimes its a real pain in the arse. But I don't think too many of us wouldn't take the deal.

Ciscos
Ciscos

@JulesG YUP. Sure did.  And just for your own edification, not everyone posting on here is a keyboard warrior.  Some actually played the game beyond high school (and not semi pro).  But that's besides the point.

Any player, especially at an NFL level complaining about a coach calling them out - especially after that coach - and his system, put that player on the map is a wus.  But even more, in Welker's case, that's not why he left.  I'm quite confident had the Pats offered him more, he would have stayed with them instead of moving to Denver.

What makes him a wus even more is the fact - like you said - are all the things that you cited about Belichick.  Knowing those things and you're crying about him "calling you out" does make you a wus.  Like another poster wrote below, he wouldn't have been able to survive Lombardi, Halas, Parcell's, Ditka... Heck if he's crying that much he probably wouldn't have been able to survive the very affable George Allen or Don "Air" Coryell.

In Welker's case, less said is better.  He's gone, moved on and he needs to leave it at that.

Last point, I'm not a Patriot's fan, nor a Bronco's fan either.


Ciscos
Ciscos

@SweetLightCrude Classic case of "biting the hand that fed you..."  

Get Welker a diaper and a bib...  great post!

Ciscos
Ciscos

@los923 BOOM!

Could you imagine what Lombardi or Halas would have done to him?  What a wus.

twnickels
twnickels

@6marK6 While it doesn't classify as a drop, it wasn't terrible, and definitely not a miss. Mangini, Jaworski, Herm Edwards, Mariucci, Bill O'Brien, and essentially every player and coach have repeatedly broken down the play. Try listening to the NFL aficionados before you make your comments. It's called a back shoulder throw, up the seam, away from coverage, not a terrible pass. True intelligent football fans would realize and understand that. Brady is off the hook.

randomdeletion
randomdeletion

@6marK6 Oh he has from intelligent football fans.  That would include a very small minority of Patriot fans.  It was a terrible pass and he was wide open.  Then he followed it up in the red zone against the Ravens with 3 consecutive terrible passes and plays to turn it over on downs.  He gets a complete pass on choking of course, and so does BB for all of his stupid antics.  What a shame. 

mystafugee
mystafugee

@KantSpelwrite and I'm sure if BB said something about another former player that was critical you'd probably say "he's just telling it like it is."  Well, Welker is doing that too

mystafugee
mystafugee

@decadofdominanc Who cares if he caught it or not.  The Giants own the Patriots, enjoy going out in the divisional playoffs!!!

Kenny S
Kenny S

And if it weren't for Bradshaw, would there be a Great Chuck Noll? If there weren't Montana would Bill Walsh have won anything? Go down the list of all successful franchises and you could say the same thing.

whitezb1974
whitezb1974

@Navycross Examples please (and taking someone's quote after they were traded doesn't count.  I would be willing to bet someone like Lawyer Milloy may have a different opinion now.  I've never heard Rodney complain about BB.  Bruschi?  Troy Brown?  Hey, a few years after being traded, even Seymour started softening.  

KevinDoucette
KevinDoucette

@Navycross He could be making $10 an hour at a fast food restaurant and have a boss he doesn't like. I can't feel sorry for anyone making millions of dollars for playing football for half a year.

mystafugee
mystafugee

@Navycross That's the thing: if you're gonna act like a jerk to your players you better win some games otherwise why put up with him.  

randomdeletion
randomdeletion

@LVGRAMPS Comments lack class?  What BB did totally lacked class.  Just because he doesn't say it doesn't mean he isn't doing something that totally lacks class. 

randomdeletion
randomdeletion

@gymviking Pretty obvious isn't it?  It was obvious when BB was freezing Wes out of the game plan and started Edelman (who sucks).  They weren't winning then suddenly they went back to a Wes dominated game plan and started winning.  Interesting that BB still decided he can get it done without Wes.  What a fool.  The fragile guy they got from the Rams could NEVER take the hits Wes took and bounce right back up and keep playing like Wes did.  That guy is going to get killed and miss most of the season.  

ken.hahr
ken.hahr

@Kenny S 

As Joe Posnanski pointed out in a good article the other day, Don Shula's Dolphins won (26 seasons, only 2 losing records). They did this with different styles of play and with different players. So no, that does not always apply.

Kenny S
Kenny S

So you think without Marino, Greise, Unitas and Morrall, Don Shula would have had the success he had? I think if you asked the man himself he would disagree.