Has your opinion of Wes Welker changed at all after last Sunday's game?
Jason: I don't think Welker did anything abhorrent, so Sunday did nothing to change my opinion. Coach Belichick is right that the hit was deliberate, but he didn't go low and didn't appear to have an intent to injure Talib. It looked to me like a clean play, albeit one that should have drawn a flag. If he had thrown himself at Talib's knees, it would be a different story.
Raj: Oh it definitely has. Wes Welker used to be my favorite player, now he's just someone who I will never respect as long as I live. When he went to Denver, I was hurt, but I still didn't unfollow him on twitter. After Sunday though, he just crossed the line with that cheap play to injure Talib. I've unfollowed him and I'm done supporting him.
Rick: My opinion on Wes Welker hasn’t changed primarily due to the fact that I had no issue with the hit he put on Talib. Judging by the Belichick comments on Monday, there is more animosity there between those two than what was originally thought. You can’t look at him as a dirty player because if you do, then you have to almost think the same for the Julian Edelman hit on Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie. The Patriots did miss Wes Welker on Sunday because Danny Amendola was a disappointment in 2013. Considering he dropped the only pass thrown to him and the fact Brady didn’t really target him in the game, Amendola has a lot of work to do to improve for 2014. Otherwise, Patriots’ fans may be wishing Welker was still on their side.
Derek: Do I like Wes less after Sunday's game? Yeah. The guy knocked out our best defensive player from the game and pretty much eliminated any hope we had of winning that game. There's not a whole lot to like about that. Do I think he intentionally tried to hurt Talib and think less of him as a person? No.
For me, the narrative of Wes's career as a Patriot goes something like this: He caught more balls than any other Patriots' receiver. He also dropped the ball at perhaps the most critical time ever and cost us a championship. He was the ultimate "Patriot" from the standpoint of working hard and coming through as an underdog. He also never learned the "Patriot Way" of keeping your mouth shut, as evidenced by the Rex Ryan foot comments before a playoff game and several subtle digs at Belichick during his last season with the team. He was severaly underpaid for his tenure with the Patriots compared to his production. He ended up having to leave the team because his contract demands were completely unrealistic when compared with the open market.
That's Wes Welker. The ultimate contradicition. The player everyone loved, who they now all hate, even though they feel a little bit guilty about it. And honestly, after everything that's gone down, you can't blame anyone for feeling that way.