Earlier today Bill Belichick called the Wes Welker hit that sidelined cornerback Aqib Talib in Sunday's AFC Championship Game "one of the worst plays I've seen." ESPN analyst and former Patriots linebacker Tedy Bruschi was asked about it in today's chat and here is his take:
What is your take on Welker's hit on Talib? Bill Belichick thinks it was purposeful. I agree. Welker did not collide with Talib. He launched himself into Talib and left his feet. Welker had no intention of running a route. Also, Peyton Manning's pass was in the air when the contact was made. The NFL should fine Welker a game check. -- David (Atlanta)
Bruschi: I know how it looked, David, but I disagree with the assessment. This type of collision happens every week in the NFL. If you look closely, this type of pick-route mentality happens weekly within the New England Patriot offense. It's a strategic way to beat man to man coverage. When these techniques are utilized closer to the line of scrimmage, they happen at a lower rate of speed. But when they happen down the field, 10-15 yards from the line of scrimmage, the rate of speed increases. Welker had a clear goal on that play -- to make Aqib Talib go over the top so he could free up Demaryius Thomas. Aqib Talib made a decision to attempt to fight to stay under that pick. So what you have there are 2 players, going at a high rate of speed because they were 10-plus yards from the line of scrimmage, simultaneously deciding to take the same route. That's where the collision occurred. Welker's intent was to pick Aqib Talib, but it wasn't to injure.