Broncos: Welker's return provides even more options
Wes Welker is expected to return to the field for the Broncos this week after having his suspension lifted due to the new drug policy agreed upon by the NFL and the NFLPA. This is great news for them because, despite missing two games, Welker played a huge role in their offense last year. He ran the most routes from the slot of any player and was targeted 109 times overall.
Peyton Manning had a great passer rating of 106.7 when throwing to Welker in 2013, giving Welker a WR Rating that was 10th-best among qualifying wide receivers. In all of the 2013 games where Welker, Eric Decker, and Demaryius Thomas were healthy, each receiver saw at least 42 snaps. This did not happen in Week 2 when the third receiver, Andre Caldwell, received only five snaps. Jacob Tamme was on the field for 40 snaps in the absence of a third WR.
Through two games, Denver’s offense has had to use different players to fill the void left by Welker during his suspension. Emmanuel Sanders has filled in well through these games with a WR rating of 109.5, even better than Welker’s 2013 number. Welker’s return should result in fewer snaps for both Tamme and Caldwell, the latter of whom has posted grades of -0.9 and -1.1 in the first two weeks.