Login  |   Register
On Now
Coming Up
  • Sat., Jan. 28, 2017 12:30 PM MST Senior Bowl Senior Bowl, Ladd-Peebles Stadium, Mobile, Alabama
  • Sun., Jan. 29, 2017 6:00 PM MST NFL Pro Bowl NFL Pro Bowl, Camping World Stadium, Orlando, Florida
  • Sun., Feb. 05, 2017 4:30 PM MST Super Bowl LI Super Bowl LI, NRG Stadium, Houston, Texas
  • Wed., Feb. 15, 2017 12:00 AM MST First day to designate Franchise or Transition players First day for clubs to designate Franchise or Transition Players.
  • Tue., Feb. 28, 2017 12:00 AM MST Combine Timing and Testing The Combine begins in Indianapolis and runs through March 6.
  • Wed., Mar. 01, 2017 2:00 PM MST Deadline to designate Francise or Transition Players Prior to 4:00 p.m., New York time, deadline for clubs to designate Franchise or Transition Players.
  • Tue., Mar. 07, 2017 12:00 AM MST Teams may negotiate with their own Unrestricted Free Agents

    During the period beginning at 12 noon, New York time, on March 7th and ending at 3:59:59 p.m., New York time, on March 9th, clubs are permitted to contact, and enter into contract negotiations with the certified agents of players who will become Unrestricted Free Agents upon the expiration of their 2016 player contracts at 4:00 p.m., New York time, on March 9. However, a contract cannot be executed with a new club until 4:00 p.m., New York time, on March 9.

    During the above two-day negotiating period, no direct contact is permitted between a prospective unrestricted free agent and any employee or representative of a club, other than the player’s current club.

  • Thu., Mar. 09, 2017 12:00 AM MST 2017 League Year and Free Agency begin

    The 2017 League Year and Free Agency period begin at 4:00 p.m., New York time.

    The first day of the 2017 League Year will end at 11:59:59 p.m., New York time, on March 9. Clubs will receive a personnel notice that will include all transactions submitted to the League office during the period between 4:00 p.m., New York time, and 11:59:59 p.m., New York time, on March 9.

    Trading period for 2017 begins at 4:00 p.m., New York time, after expiration of all 2016 contracts.

  • Sun., Mar. 26, 2017 12:00 AM MDT Annual League Meeting Annual League Meeting, Phoenix, Arizona.
  • Mon., Apr. 03, 2017 12:00 AM MDT Clubs with new head coaches may begin offseason workouts Clubs that hired a new head coach after the end of the 2016 regular season may begin offseason workout programs.
Print
RSS

Healthy Welker Ready to Return

Posted Jan 2, 2014

WR Wes Welker said he feels 'ready to go' Thursday from his locker.

ENGLEWOOD, Colo. -- By the time the Broncos run through the southwest tunnel at Sports Authority Field at Mile High on Jan. 12, 35 days will have passed since Wes Welker suffered his second concussion in a four-game span.

That might be expected to leave Welker a bit rusty upon his expected return to game action. But Welker disagrees with that notion.

"I don't think so," he said. "We have practices this week and next, and it will really give us a chance to get back into the groove of things and hopefully have a little bit better timing with fresh legs and everything else."

Welker practiced on a limited basis last week before sitting out the regular-season finale at Oakland, so the process of regaining his timing with quarterback Peyton Manning was already well under way.

"I feel like we were kind of on the same page today," Welker said. "You have good practices; you have bad practices. Things like that. Hopefully just keep it rolling into tomorrow and keep it going. But I feel like we've been around the league long enough where we know each other's thinking and can get on the same page and ready to go."

It has been a lengthy road back for Welker, who missed as many games in this regular season (three) as he did during his first nine NFL seasons combined. (He missed three regular-season games to injuries, and also sat out one game in 2004 when he was not on a roster.)

"I haven't missed many games in my career, so it is tough," he said, "and it makes you appreciate and it makes you hungry and ready to get back out there and ready to go out there and compete -- especially in a time of the year like this."

But it was necessary, given the nature of his injury, and the procedures now in place.

"I think we've taken a lot more action than what we would have had in the past with this whole ordeal," Welker said. "So I feel like we've taken enough time. It will be five weeks from the day when I had any contact at all, so I feel good, I feel fine, I feel ready to go."

One result of the league-mandated concussion protocol is the caution it mandates when a player is recovering from a hit. A player might feel at a specific moment like he is 100 percent, but the examinations reveal he is not, preventing his return from being cleared by independent doctors.

That situation arose for Welker in recent weeks. Now that he has been cleared, he understands what "100 percent" means.

"Even when I felt like I was 100 percent, looking back, you know, you weren't 100 percent, "he said. "So it's always a tricky injury, just trying to manage it and everything else. But the doctors and trainers did a great job of just doing the things necessary to get me back out there on the field."

Just as Welker's recovery took a while, so did the Broncos' adjustment to life without him, particularly on third downs.

The Broncos had converted a league-leading 48.2 percent of their third downs prior to Welker's second concussion. They converted seven of 26 in the two and a half games that followed. Even with a strong 9-of-15 day at Oakland last Sunday, they finished second in the league behind the Chargers, who surged past Denver by converting 56.4 percent of their third downs in Weeks 14-17.

But the Broncos' performance at Oakland -- particularly in the first half, when they went 6-of-7 before Manning was relieved for Brock Osweiler -- proved that the Broncos can convert third downs consistently without Welker. It also helped solidify other options for the quick outs, wheel and drag routes, slants and screens, on third downs, particularly running back Knowshon Moreno and tight end Julius Thomas.

Welker's return could make the offense even more potent, with alternative threats now able to sustain the offense on the short to intermediate routes it utilizes on third downs.

"A lot of times, teams will decide to go ahead and double(-team) Wes. So absolutely, it opens up things for me," said Thomas. "If I have a single-man coverage, it's something that I definitely enjoy and look forward to. But it might be opposite, they might some games decide to double me, and Wes is out there in single-man coverage.

"Wes brings a lot to this offense and we're excited to have him back."