I'll start off by saying, "Wes Welker is an All-World receiver. Julian Edelman is a sophmore receiver, one year removed from being a quarterback."
That said, I'll issue a challenge for young Edelman: Be something for the New England Patriots that Wes Welker wasn't. Don't be Welker. Be Edelman.
Now it's easy to assume that Edelman, who was accidentally called "Welker" early in the season, will be asked to emulate what Welker did for our offense. He'll run the short dump-off plays. He'll be the security blanket. He'll get the first down. He'll return punts. He'll be the man. But maybe he'll do something different.
Maybe he'll find the end-zone.
Wes Welker found the end zone 4 times last season, 3 of those times against the Tennessee Titans (remember how easy that game was?) and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers (in London!). He only scored once against a good team, and that was against the Denver Broncos. Now, if you look at the schedule, you'll realize that all 4 of those scores came in a 3 week span from Week 5 to Week 7. Welker didn't score after Week 7 (or after Week 8 if you want to count out the bye week).
Is that surprising? Welker seemed to carry the team on his back. But he really didn't score in the second half of the SEASON? Yeah. It shouldn't even be a surprise.
In 2008, with Matt Cassel at the helm, Welker was once again called upon to be a security blanket. He reached the end zone 3 times. A Week 7 41-7 blowout against the Denver Broncos, a Week 15 49-26 slaughter of the Oakland Raiders and a Week 16 47-7 romp of the Arizona Cardinals.
But what about 2007, during the year for the ages, when he scored 7 touchdowns? Only two of those touchdowns were in games where the Patriots won by under 10 points (and one, the AFCG against the San Diego Chargers was a 9 point game). The rest were in the regular blowouts.
Out of Welker's past 7 scores, only 1 has come in a competitive game. Out of his 14 scores with the Patriots, only 2 have come in games decided by under a touchdown. Only 1 came in a loss. For some reason, whether it be Welker's fault or the fault of the offensive scheme, Welker just can't find the end zone.
That's why I'm asking Julian Edelman to be Julian Edelman- not Wes Welker. We need a player who can move the chains, yes, so in that department PLEASE copy Welker; in fact, "Watch Wes...and see how it compares to [him]." Oh, he is? Excellent.
Now, about that end zone. Welker is a 5'9, 185 lbs body. He's not going to be out-jumping any player for a touchdown. With short yardage in front of him, it's much easier for a linebacker to play contain on Welker and prevent him from getting a touchdown. Edelman, on the other hand, is 6'0 and 200 lbs. That's 3 inches and 15 pounds. Edelman should be able to get the short yards needed for first downs in the open field, while muscling his way into the end zone for a touchdown.
I hope that Julian Edelman should have as much success in our offense as Wes Welker. I hope that he racks up the yards, that he's a lethal first down machine.
I just hope that he finds the end zone more frequently.