Although almost any true Patriots fan would never count the Patriots out, especially before the season even began, a common theme among prognosticators was the downfall of the New England Patriots. Many of these prognosticators had the Patriots as the third place team in the AFC East, .500 or worse, and out of the playoffs.
As ridiculous as I believed these predictions were, they were still there. All we've been hearing for the past several months is "Wes Welker is injured," "Randy Moss is a slouch," "Tom Brady isn't the same and he never will be again," "The defense isn't good enough," "The Jets and Dolphins have gotten better, but the Patriots haven't."
Lets take "The defense isn't good enough" argument. The fact is, the Patriots had a top 10 defense in 2009, haven't lost any key members (Jarvis Green is the only starter not returning), their young players are another year older, and they have added an influx of new talent through the draft. I could go through any of the "reasons" why the Patriots won't be at the top, but it isn't worth my time, and it isn't worth your time. The "reasons" why the Patriots won't be contenders in 2010 are simply the desire of the majority of America for the Patriots not to be contenders. Fans, media, the "prognosticators," will look for anything to jump on when it comes to the demise of the Patriots.
After Wes Welker returned to OTA's yesterday, I think everyone who predicted the demise of the Patriots realized their conclusions may have been a little bit premature.
I'm not convinced that Wes Welker will be back opening day. I'm not even convinced that I even want Wes to be back for opening day. I want Wes to be 100% when he comes back. Not 75%, not 95%. I want Wes Welker 100%. Not to say having Wes back wasn't a great sign, it was. I think it's safe to assume Wes will be back at some point this season. I think there's a good chance he doesn't go on PUP. I think there's a good chance Wes is back opening day. Never count out Wes, he thrives when faced with adversity.
Lastly, I believe that the presence of Wes Welker at yesterday's practice was a bit of a "warning" to the rest of the league. With Wes in the offense, and with all of the other targets the Patriots added this offseason, this team could be hard to stop. And suddenly, the prognosticators that had already counted the Patriots out, may be starting to rethink their decisions.