Do the Patriots Need Wes Welker and Tom Brady to Win Against the Ravens?

Glenn CardSenior Analyst IJanuary 4, 2010

FOXBORO, MA - OCTOBER 18:  Tom Brady #12 of the New England Patriots congratulates Wes Welker #83 after Welker ran the ball in for a touchdown in the second quarter against the Tennessee Titans on October 18, 2009 at Gillette Stadium in Foxboro, Massachusetts. BenJarvis Green-Ellis #42 of the Patriots celebrates the play. (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
Elsa/Getty Images

The devastating loss of Wes Welker and the injuries that Brady is playing with could spell the early departure of the Patriots from the playoffs.

Wes Welker has suffered ligament tears that didn’t just end his season but honestly it’s an injury that could end his career. Injury reports have also been issued indicating that Tom Brady is playing with not only broken ribs but also a broken index finger on his passing hand.

The argument goes that because Wes Welker is out then it is a simple defensive task of double covering Randy Moss to reduce the Patriots offense to a tortoise pace.
Let’s think about that for a moment. Who’s left on the offense that could give a defense fits.

There is a surprising Welker like rookie by the name of Jullian Edelman, and another new name, Sam Aiken not to mention the tight end Benjamin Watson for receiving chores.
There is also a running back crew that has Sammy Morris, Fred Taylor, Lawrence Maroney, BenJarvus Green-Ellis and good ole stand-by Kevin Faulk.

I’ll agree that in that group there isn’t a single standout superstar running back stud but the Pats are averaging 120 yards rushing per game. That’s not even mentioning receiving yards or yards after catch when these backs are the receiver.
That’s a lot of offensive tools that have been discounted without consideration of their talents.

Making the assumption that Tom Brady will continue playing despite his injuries, the loss of Welker and double team of Randy Moss provides Tom with the incentive of more effective ball distribution amongst the remaining players.
In years previous Brady was known for spreading the wealth. He’s been a bit stingy with those balls of late as it’s always easier to focus on a sure thing. That’s what Welker and Moss provided him with a, safety net.

I’m going to throw out one more name: Brian Hoyer.  He’s young, he’s a rookie and he has shown to be a pretty good back up quarterback. Despite his fumble in the backfield giving up a defensive touchdown in his first snap of the Patriots game against the Houston Texans it’s my contention that fumble could have happened to fully half of all starting quarterbacks in the league today.
Simply, it was a bad offensive call.

I understand that Hoyer is a rookie but it wouldn’t be the first time in NFL history to see a back up QB take his team deep into the playoffs. It’s been argued that the Patriots have a quarterback system that would allow even the most mediocre quarterback to succeed.

Could Hoyer be our Cinderella if Brady can’t go? He could be the rookie who’s to dumb to know that he’s not supposed to win.

Despite that thought Hoyer probably won’t get the chance unless Tom gets rocked early and often. Apparently he’s been playing hurt all season, he’s not going to just hand the ball to Hoyer and beg Bill Belichick to pull him out of the game.

For this upcoming Wildcard weekend playoff game it’s not the offense that I’m worried about it’s the defense that needs a backbone.
We expect some big defensive players to return for this first playoff game and I’m hoping that Vince Wilfork, Jarvis Green and Ty Warren all make it back out on to the field to help solidify the front line.

Yes the Patriots can win without Wes Welker and yes they could win without Tom Terrific but if the defense doesn’t show up…the postseason will be as good as over.