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Yes, Welker deserves credit from coming back for a torn ACL and MCL sustained last year. It’s somewhat miraculous that he’s close to his “old self,” but there has been some dropoff.
Welker’s receptions, yardage, and yards per catch totals are down markedly from their 2007-2009 levels. Perhaps most revealingly, his YAC numbers are down a full yard from his average during that span.
Pool had one notable screw-up in last week’s game against the Colts, but overall he played well and has steadily improved over the past month. He’s a sure tackler who flashes well in the running game, but he can be beat for big plays.
This matchup is closer than you might think, but Welker still wins.