New England Patriots

New England Patriots: Bill Belichick Had No Choice; He Had To Sit Wes Welker

FOXBORO, MA - JANUARY 16:  Head coach Rex Ryan of the New York Jets hugs head coach Bill Belichick of the New England Patriots after the Jets defeated the Patriots 28 to 21 in their 2011 AFC divisional playoff game at Gillette Stadium on January 16, 2011 in Foxboro, Massachusetts.  (Photo by Jim Rogash/Getty Images)
Jim Rogash/Getty Images
Dennis ParslowContributor IJanuary 21, 2011

A lot has been made over the past week about Wes Welker being benched for the first series of the playoff game against the Jets because of comments he made about Rex Ryan.  The comments were deserved and hilarious, but Bill Belichick had instructed his team to avoid getting involved with the verbal jabs the Jets had been throwing all week. That alone may not have gotten him benched, though.

As cantankerous as Bill appears in press conferences, and as relentless as he is on the field, keeping his stars in when they are up by 30 in the fourth quarter, he can justify that.  He's "doing what's best for the team."  

Many will disagree with his reasons why he does that, and he doesn't care.  Somewhere beneath that gray hoodie is a man with principals, and I think that he felt that he had to discipline Welker because the comments were directed at another coach.  That coach may be his polar opposite, but he is still part of the coaching fraternity.  Maybe, just maybe, Bill felt that not doing something would be condoning the behavior, as if he said it himself.  

It's not as though he sat him for the game, a half or even a quarter of the game.  It was one series in which the offense looked pretty good until Brady's ill-timed first interception since there were leaves on the trees.  If sitting Welker for one series had such a profound psychological effect on the team that they could not perform for the rest of the game, then there are much bigger things to worry about in Foxboro.  

Bill wanted to beat Rex Ryan in the worst way, and doing anything to jeopardize that probably tore at him for days, so you have to give the man credit for sticking to his principals.

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