Welker explains collision with Talib

Welker explains collision with Talib
January 28, 2014, 1:00 pm
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Wes Welker finally got into the nuts and bolts of what happened during the play in which he took out Aqib Talib.

(AP Photo)

NEWARK, N.J. -- I asked Wes Welker on Tuesday if his collision with Aqib Talib in the AFC Championship could be equated to a game of chicken.
 
“In a big game like that, of course,” said Welker, the former Patriot whose collision with the Patriots corner knocked Talib from the game and deeply irked Bill Belichick. “You’re out there trying to help your team win. Both guys are trying to be competitive, I think, and it worked out the way it did. Hopefully he’s doing good.”
 
In the nine days since Talib and Welker rammed into each other, the play’s been dissected like the Zapruder film.
 
But hysteria from both sides over whether the hit was clean or dirty, whether the contact was early or late, and whether Welker is now on Belichick’s “HATE SOOOO MUCH!!!” list has made it near impossible to get to the meat of the play.
 
Welker got to it Tuesday.
 
They collided because neither guy backed down. Because they are both wired that way and -- in a game of this import -- you don’t step around a pick. And when Welker realized which way Talib was going, it was too late for him to take evasive action.
 
Welker didn’t think before the snap, “Now I take out Aqib for the game…” but he did set out to take Talib out of the play. That’s what a pick does. This was one that went bad.
 
This was Welker’s third Super Bowl Media Day. Over the 30 minutes I posted up at his spot, he was interviewed by Deion Sanders, ESPN’s Chris Berman and the Steelers Brett Keisel (awkwardly). He fielded questions from kids and entertainment reporters. He was glib and smooth.
 
But myself, Ron Borges of the Boston Herald and Dan Shaughnessy of the Boston Globe were on hand to chronicle Welker. Ten months ago, he walked out of New England to see what kind of free-agent interest he could drum up. The door shut behind him.

Media drama queens have been teasing out the Welker-Belichick storyline ever since. The collision and Belichick’s reaction to it has been like sliding a trough of gravy in front of a fat man.
 
Shaughnessy’s angle -- that Belichick was out of line for protesting Welker veering into Talib’s way -- was clear.
 
He asked Welker, “What’s your job on that play?”
 
“It’s a rub play that everybody runs,” Welker explained. “It’s one of those deals where you try to get a rub on that guy and really, if you can get him to go over the top of you, the more separation the other receiver will have. That’s what I tried to do to get Demaryius a little more open and unfortunately we collided “
 
“Was there anything uncommon about it? Unusual about it?”
 
“I don’t think so,” said Welker.
 
“Were you taught that play in New England?”
 
“We ran the same play,” Welker replied.
 
Anybody with opposable thumbs should know what was unusual about it. The receiver and defensive back didn’t “rub.” They head a side-on collision. I’m sure it’s happened before at some point, but I can’t recall a collision that square and that explosive before the ball reached its intended target.
 
Wes Welker intended to pick Aqib Talib. He didn’t intend to take him out of the game. It’s not that complicated.