Wes Welker admitted yesterday that he regretted the veiled shots he took at Rex Ryan by making multiple foot references in a press conference leading up to the Patriots playoff game with the Jets.
"I’m not going to get into any details about it, but I don’t think it’s worth putting coach (Belichick) in that situation. So in a sense, I do regret it. As much as you might want to get enticed into that stuff, at the end of the day, it’s just not worth it."
While I certainly saw the humor in what Wes did during his press conference, I was pretty against it at the time. Like Wes admitted, it simply wasn't worth responding to anything the Jets were saying that week. In some ways, Welker's comments just re-enforced that the Jets trash talk was having the desired affect. They were trying to get under the Patriots skin and distract them from the task at hand. If the trash talk isn't affecting you and all you're thinking about is the game, then you don't spend time thinking up all the different ways you can slip the word "foot" into your press conference.
It had also been widely known that Belichick had specifically told the players to keep their mouths shut in regards to the Jets. Welker's jabs at Ryan were in direct opposition to those orders. It lead to Welker's benching and may have changed the course of the game. Does Brady throw that interception on the opening drive if Welker is on the field? Hard to say. You can drive yourself crazy with hypotheticals, but if Welker doesn't do his foot routine, and doesn't get benched, and thus Brady doesn't throw the interception… Maybe the Patriots are heading to Dallas.
I think going down that road is a bit of a stretch as there's no way to know what would have happened. Still, Welker's press conference seemed to be the karma shift that send New England heading in the wrong direction. At that moment, the Patriots had let their guard down and sunk to the level of playing the Jets' game. It was no better than what Antonio Cromartie had done just days earlier, even though it was far more clever. Regardless, it's good to hear that Welker realizes the error of his ways and is accepting responsibility for what he did. After the game, there was some speculation that Welker's benching might cause a rift between him and Belichick going forward. If nothing else, it's good to see that rumor nipped in the bud. Welker certainly appears to once again be playing the role of a good foot soldier.