McDaniels: Welker's role 'is the same'

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McDaniels: Welker's role 'is the same'

To the notion that Wes Welker's playing time is being phased out -- he had just 3 catches for 14 yards Sunday against the Titans -- Josh McDaniels' response was pretty simple.
Sometimes receivers only get five targets. Yes, even Welker.
"Wes had some opportunities in the game and he tried to make the most of a few of those," New England's offensive coordinator said. "Then we had some other opportunities we didn't quite hit. Wes' role is the same as it's always gone."
"We go each week and try to do what we think is best to help us win. Sometimes that may include playing more multiple tight ends. Sometimes it may include playing a lot more receivers. We kind of try to feel that out as we go through our preparation and then make the decisions that go along with it."
McDaniels explained that the game plan changes every week. For each opponent there are different personnel groupings, which means varying numbers of snaps for each player. It all depends on the matchups and it's all decided on a case-by-case basis.
But maybe you like math and you hit the calculator on Welker. Three catches a night over 16 games . . . that puts Welker on pace for just 48 receptions in 2012. Surely, there must be some conspiracy at hand, considering this is a guy who had over 100 catches in five of the last six seasons.
Then you remember that Stevan Ridley had 21 carries in Tennessee. You remember, perhaps because Tom Curran noted it, that Aaron Hernandez was targeted just six times against the Titans when he saw more than eight a game over the last seven games of 2011. And then you think about Brandon Lloyd, Tom Brady's new downfield weapon, and how he and the quarterback are still trying to develop an on-field relationship where Brady and Welker are already solid.
Sometimes receivers only get five targets.
"I think balance, maintaining your balance, in really any portion of the game is important," said McDaniels. "On offense, if you're able to do more than one thing well and you're able to move the ball in different ways, it forces the defense to have to defend a lot of different things in your offense. You can't really settle into one thing and get comfortable with that."
"Our goal will always be to try to go in and maintain our balance unless we decide that the best thing to do would be to do something other than that. I know we've done that in certain games in the past, where we've made a conscious effort or a decision to do it in some other way. Right now, we did a decent job in Week 1 and hopefully we continue to be productive both in the running game and in the passing game."
And Welker, he'll be a part of it somehow.

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