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Red Zone Play: The Wes Welker Effect

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Is the former Patriots wide receiver the next Mike Vrabel of Houston sports?

NFL: Houston Texans-OTA Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

While most outlets are focused on spotlighting the Houston Texans’ quarterback battle between incumbent Tom Savage and rookie Deshaun Watson, and a few are touching on Bill O’Brien’s renewed focus on the offense as a whole, it’s somewhat surprising no one is really talking up the Wes Welker Effect.

What’s the Wes Welker Effect, you ask? Well, let’s examine that.

When you have a fairly complex offensive scheme that’s proven to create a generational franchise when used properly (see The New England Patriots, for those of you living under a rock), it makes sense to maximize that scheme. When you have an offensive roster ripe with young talent, the maximization process can be challenging.

So what do you do? Well, for starters, you bring in some folks well versed in that scheme. Enter long time student of the game and ex-Patriots wide receiver Wes Welker.

Guys like Braxton Miller, Will Fuller, Jaelen Strong, C.J. Fiedorowicz, Stephen Anderson and Wendall Williams should all benefit from not only having more time in this system, but having someone like Welker right there with them to help them further assimilate.

Then there’s guys like D’Onta Foreman, Akeem Hunt, Tyler Ervin and Treston Decoud, who will all invariably spend time learning from one of the greatest offensive and special teams weapons to ever perform in this system.

But it’s not just going to elevate the players. It’s also going to raise the bar for Welker himself. When asked about joining the Texans, he had this to say:

“I think I knew the type of people I was going to be around and the type of situation it was going to be and the type of football and competition that we were going to have on this football team. I was just excited about the opportunity and luckily, Coach O’Brien gave me a chance.”

Diving right in and doing everything from breaking down game film to helping the wide receivers and coaches understand the effect of certain drills on the players’ ability to improve has had an immediate impact. Not only does Welker fully comprehend the offense he’s now helping to teach, he understands the rigors and challenges of being the player trying to learn it.

"Having Wes Welker out here that’s a recently removed wide receiver, it helps out a lot to have a guy that knows this offense better than anybody," Houston’s all-star wideout DeAndre Hopkins added. "To be here every day working with us, it makes a big difference.”

Not only is Welker elevating the wide receivers, he’s also helping on special teams, an area the Texans sorely need to improve. Working alongside another former Patriot, special teams coach Larry Izzo, Welker’s wealth of experience should go a long way toward helping the players buy in to the schemes used in the kicking and return games as well.

While the fruit of his efforts won’t be visible for another month until the NFL Preseason is upon us, it’s hard to think Welker won’t have a Vrabel-esque impact on the players, his fellow coaches, and Houston sports in general.

What do you think? Excited about what Welker brings to the table? Where do you see his biggest impact coming to life?