Curran: Manning has to share blame for Welker concussion

Curran: Manning has to share blame for Welker concussion
August 24, 2014, 8:00 pm

Do you tell your dog to fetch, throw the ball in the street, then yell at the driver who hits him?
 
Only if you’re too numb to realize you’re the one who got him run over.
 
Wes Welker’s sitting with another concussion today not because D.J. Swearinger hit him in the helmet but because Peyton Manning threw the ball into a team meeting Saturday night.
 
Manning can be as pissed as he wants to be at Swearinger but he bears some of the burden for throwing over the middle to his 190-pound concussion-prone receiver with a converging mass of three Texans. In a preseason game. When Manning wasn’t under pressure.
 
Manning threw what is commonly referred to as a hospital ball.
 
There’s an incredible amount of trust receivers put in their quarterbacks to keep them out of harm’s way as best they can. Sometimes, those hits are unavoidable and the receivers accept that huge, brain-rattling hits are part of the game and the cost of doing business.
 
Welker took his share of hits in New England as well. Ryan Clark of the Steelers devastated Welker in 2008 after an incomplete pass. He got smoked by Bernard Pollard of the Ravens in the 2012 AFC Championship.
 
But you’ll have a hard time finding a pile of plays where Welker got led into the middle of traffic and then asked to go get the ball and wound up knocked out.
 
It’s Welker’s third concussion in 10 months. Of the other two he sustained, one was him running around too long when he should have hit the deck against Kansas City. The other was a little option route in the middle of the field on which Manning led Welker into George Wilson of the Titans by Manning.
 
This isn’t isolated to Welker either. Austin Collie got knocked into oblivion with regularity while catching passes from Manning.
 
Manning is a genius pre-snap. But post-snap, you have to wonder how he doesn’t see the potential for disaster unfolding on some of his throws. Or maybe he does and the fact he delivers the ball with less velocity than every other quarterback in the league is the problem. A quarterback who rips the ball to an open receiver gives him a chance to get out of harm’s way. Manning delivers some flutterballs.
 
When Welker signed with Denver and people asked me how he’d do, I told more than a few that Manning would get him hurt. Welker needed to be handled with care and Brady did that for six seasons.
 
It would be seven and counting if it weren’t for Welker’s agents at Athlete’s First. They are the ones that sold him on the idea he’d get Larry Fitzgerald money. Then they sold Welker on the idea he’d get $8M per year and that the Patriots incentive-laden deal was an insult.
 
So when free agency started, Welker went to find that money David Dunn and Brian Murphy said was out there. The Patriots figured those two must know something and replaced Welker with the next best thing out there, Danny Amendola.
 
Two days later, Welker was hat-in-hand with the Broncos, trying to get $6M and asking the Patriots to match it. Which they couldn’t, having already agreed to terms with Amendola.
 
Is Wes Welker better off where he is now? Nobody can make that case.
 
The Patriots? I mean, on paper, they are. In Amendola, they have a younger, less-durable version of Welker. Julian Edelman’s emerged as a reasonable facsimile as well. They got out of the Wes Welker business just in time.
 
But you know what? Brady, Bill Belichick and anybody who cares about Welker has to be wishing right now that he never left.