For as much attention as Wes Welker’s reduced snap count has received, it’s worth noting that when he’s on the field, the passes are still coming his way.
Last season, Welker was targeted once for every 3.6 routes that he ran. This season, it’s down slightly to once every 4.4 routes.
An interesting subtext to Welker’s targets is where they are occurring. Last season, Welker was targeted over 20 yards downfield just 11 times. But despite his limited role, it has happened four times already in 2012.
Welker’s diminished snap total rate is in part due to play calling. The Patriots have thrown the ball on 63.7 percent of snaps with Welker on the field. But when he isn’t on the field, the Patriots pass just 38.1 percent of snaps.
While Welker’s blocking skills have come into question, it’s worth noting that the Patriots' running attack has actually been more effective with him on the field. Patriots’ running backs are averaging 4.84 yards per carry with Welker on the field, compared with 2.81 yards per carry otherwise.