Wes Welker and PFF's 'Drop Rate' statistic


Wes Welker and PFF's 'Drop Rate' statistic

You're already looking forward to the receiver competition at Patriots training camp. Considering New England's stacked pack of wideouts and Bill Belichick's aversion to taking more than six into the regular season, the position battle promises to be interesting.

Hence why ProFootballFocus.com's "Drop Rate" blog post is so perfectly timed.

The statistic is exactly what it sounds like: "...how many drops a receiver had as a percentage of balls deemed catchable."

The PFF guys used receivers who've seen at least 125 catchable balls over the last three years.

And the results? Wes Welker's name came up several times.

The first point is opportunity. Unsurprisingly, Tom Brady's favorite target ranks No. 1 for catchable balls with 363. Roddy White was second with 360.

Of course more targets means more opportunity for dropped passes and Welker is No. 2 with 32 drops. Consequently, his hands don't put him in the top 15 of the 61 receivers studied.

NOTE: Two other Patriots did. Jabar Gaffney's 5.08 drop rate (10 drops of 197 catchable balls in one season with Washington, two with Denver) puts him at No. 7. Deion Branch sits at 15 with a 6.06 drop rate (10 drops, 165 catchable passes).

Welker is not in the bottom 15 either.

As far as drop rate goes it's safe to say he doesn't deserve a delivery of 8,000 Butterfinger bars. Welker's drop rate is 8.82. Great? No. But bear in mind only three players in that upper tier -- Larry Fitzgerald, Reggie Wayne, Anquan Boldin -- saw 200 or more catchable balls.

The Patriots probably won't use this information in Welker's continued contract negotiations. PFF's "Signature Stats" do come highly recommended, however.

Patriots players got a refresher on NFL social media policy because of Brown

Patriots players got a refresher on NFL social media policy because of Brown

FOXBORO -- Antonio Brown's live stream of coach Mike Tomlin's postgame speech on Sunday had a ripple effect that traveled all the way to New England: Just in case Patriots players weren't familiar with the league's social-media policy, they were reminded of it this week. 

"We were reminded of that," receiver Chris Hogan said. "I’m not sure what the timing is, but obviously, I don’t think we’ll see guys doing that in the locker room."

Players are prohibited from using social media in the locker room until media outlets have been given an opportunity to talk to players following games. Brown's Facebook Live video, which garnered national attention almost as soon as it went online, was shot well before the visitor's locker room at Arrowhead Stadium opened following Pittsburgh's win over Kansas City.

"We have a team policy on that," special teams captain Matthew Slater said. "Strictly enforced. We go from there."

Of course part of the reason the video became as widely disseminated as it did was because it caught Tomlin calling the Patriots "a--holes."

"I have a lot of respect for Coach Tomlin," Slater said when asked about Tomlin's speech. "I appreciate the way he prepares his team. I’ve had a good working relationship with him over the years, and it will continue to be that way."

Both Slater and Hogan insisted that their focus will be trained solely on preparing for what Tomlin and his players will do when they arrive to Gillette Stadium Sunday night -- not what they say leading up to kickoff.

"You come in here, you're automatically bought into what we preach here, what coach [Bill] Belichick preaches," Hogan said. "It's football. We're 100 percent football here. It's not about anything outside. Between the media or whatever it is outside of football, whatever we're doing. When we come here, it's 100 percent football. That's all we're focused on is the opponent we're playing that week."

Whether Goodell visits Foxboro or not, Patriots players say they don't care

Whether Goodell visits Foxboro or not, Patriots players say they don't care

FOXBORO -- Roger Goodell will reportedly be in Atlanta for the NFC Championship Game this weekend and therefore will miss the AFC title game between the Patriots and Steelers at Gillette Stadium on Sunday. His absence will mean he hasn't been to a Patriots game in more than two years, when he was present for the AFC title game in 2015 -- the birth of Deflategate. 

It's news that broke on Tuesday and sent some Patriots fans into an uproar. Patriots players, though, sound like they're having a hard time caring one way or the other.

"He’s the commissioner, so obviously whatever he wants to do, he can do," Tom Brady told WEEI's Kirk and Callahan Monday. "If he wants to come, that would be -- yeah, he can come."

In the Patriots locker room on Tuesday, others struck a similar tone.

"I could not care less," said Patriots receiver Chris Hogan. "I'm focused on Pittsburgh and their defense and studying them as much as I can this week, watching them as much as I can so that I can go out there on Sunday and be prepared."

Special teams captain Matthew Slater was similarly disinterested in the discussion.

"The game's going to be played," he said. "Whoever's in attendance is in attendance. We'll just worry about trying to play well."