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Patriots thoughts to ponder: to sit or not to sit

...that is the question.  Whether 'tis nobler in the mind to suffer the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune...

Sorry, couldn't resist.  That old high school literature class rearing its ugly head (old being the operative word).  There are some seriously banged up guys on this squad, guys that are crucial to this team.  Reduced playing time or no playing time at all might help to heal their wounds.  I can certainly think of one guy.  3 guesses...I'm waiting...guy in the picture maybe?

Yeah, Wes Welker.  You don't accumulate 1,336 yards and 122 receptions without putting yourself in harm's way.  Did I mention 122 receptions leads the league?  Oh, and Wes missed 2 games which COULD have put him above yardage leader Andre Johnson.  At least Wes got a Pro Bowl nod as a reserve which I'm strangely OK with; the Pro Bowl tends to keep it simple with a 2 wide receiver set and Andre Johnson and Reggie Wayne are great targets for an all around type of formation.

IMO, Wes Welker is this team's MVP.  He's been an ironman out there and even his teammates and coaches say there's not many that work harder nor have a better attitude.  Plus, he has to be more banged up than our effusive head coach (where's that sarcasm font) is letting on.  We've all seen the hits this little engine that can has taken.  There not Ryan Clark hits, mind you, but the body can only take so much.  Considering how crucial Welker has been to this team, I think it's time Julian Edelman got some reps.  Give Wes lighter work load to keep his rhythm, but let's keep him healthy, ok?

Vince Wilfork is another.  He's also extremely important to this team and has really pulled double duty since Richard Seymour parted ways with New England.  Yes, Vince is arguably the best 3-4 nose tackle in the NFL, but have you seen what he can do as a utility DL?  Outstanding is all I have to say, outstanding.  He's been moved around quite a bit and has done an excellent job holding down the fort of the front 3 of 4, whatever hoodie cooks up that week.  Rookie Myron Pryor has done an admirable job subbing for Vince and has shot past his higher drafted teammate Ron Brace as the guy who has Wilfork's back.  I say let's get some reps to Brace and give Pryor some time as well; Vince should pop in every now and again to "warm up" for the playoffs, but keep him off of the field for the most part.

In the offensive backfield, Sammy Morris had a great day against the Jaguars, but he tends to be injury prone.  I've always liked Morris and feel he comes up big when called upon, so he should have limited reps.  Laurence Maroney should play almost every down until he learns to hang onto the ball.  This would be a good game for Fred Taylor to come up-to-speed.  He looked a little tentative against his old team this past Sunday, so I'd like to see more from him.  Get Kevin Faulk in there too, but not too much.  In general, LoMo needs the practice, so give it to him.

Linebackers?  I have no idea.  We seem pretty healthy at that position and noone is standing out as "we'd be screwed without them".  Well, maybe Jerod MayoTully Banta-Cain?

In the defensive backfield, Leigh Bodden has been having a good few weeks; give Jonathan Wilhite or Terrence Wheatley some time on the field.  Should we rest anyone at safety?  Maybe Brandon Meriweather or James Sanders could use a few less reps?

Now comes the question of Tom Brady.  He doesn't need the reps to stay in rhythm, or he needs very few.  I wouldn't be too disheartened to see him on the sidelines for most of the game while Brian Hoyer battles it out against the Texans.  With some banged up ribs, issues with his throwing hand index finger and that knee, lets let Wonderboy ride some pine, ok?

Now, while I like the idea of resting some key starters, my overall philosophy is to never "throw" a game like Indianapolis did.  Would they lose this one on purpose?  Maybe.  They're a lock for either a 3rd or 4th seed with there chances for each only percentage points off.  They could blow this one to get a more favorable matchup, but Patriots @ Texans is a 1pm game with very little chance of finding out how the other games play out.  I don't know, my head hurts when I think about the playoff picture.

Who would you rest?  Should we rest starters?  Am I totally off base?  I'm sure you'll let me know. ;-)