Patriots OC Josh McDaniels attributed Wes Welker's reduced Week 1 role to a game plan specific to facing the Titans defense.
The three receptions and 14 yards were Welker's lowest ever in Patriots uniform for a game in which he was not injured. The Pats are notorious in fantasy circles for tailoring their backfield game plans to the opponent. It now seems as if McDaniels will be going even more it with the passing game. The emergence of Stevan Ridley as a consistent ground threat also reduces the need for quick strikes to Welker in an effort to sustain drives.Stevan Ridley played on 40-of-67 snaps in Sunday's win over the Titans.
Danny Woodhead (14 snaps) was the closest running back to Ridley, who finished with 125 yards and a touchdown on 21 carries. Last year, BenJarvus Green-Ellis only had one game with 40-plus snaps. The staff appears enamored with Ridley's explosive power. He's set up for a big season as the Patriots project to be protecting a lead often this season.Wes Welker played on just 43-of-67 snaps in Sunday's win over the Titans.
Rob Gronkowski and Aaron Hernandez played all 67 snaps and Brandon Lloyd was in for 57. Meanwhile, Julian Edelman rotated into the slot often, recording 23 snaps. Top beat writer Mike Reiss says it "makes one wonder if it's the potential beginning of a less Welker-centric attack." Last year, the slot machine played 89.2 percent of the total snaps and saw 10.7 targets per game. On Sunday, he had three catches on five targets. Welker is playing on a one-year contract after the Patriots declined to give him a long-term deal this offseason.RotoworldPatriots first-round RE Chandler Jones played on 58-of-65 snaps in Sunday's opener.
Jones had three tackles, one sack and one forced fumble that resulted in a touchdown for fellow rookie Dont'a Hightower. He's on the IDP radar as an every-down, playmaking lineman. Jones will have plenty of chances to pin his ears back as the Patriots figure to be protecting a lead often this season.