The Denver Broncos' high-flying offense is expected to be without its star slot receiver for a second consecutive game.
Wes Welker's second concussion of the past two months will keep him out of Sunday's game against the Houston Texans, a team source told NFL Media Insider Ian Rapoport on Friday.
Fox Sports' Jay Glazer first reported that the Broncos will be without the receiver, and the team officially ruled Welker out Friday afternoon.
As for next week's game, Rapoport reports that Welker hasn't yet been cleared to practice and hasn't been around the team facility much, so it's no sure thing he'll play. If Welker is cleared, he'll play, per Rapoport. He won't be "held out" as a precaution.
It's a concern that Welker still has not been medically cleared to practice nearly two weeks after suffering the injury. Coach John Fox has said only that the receiver is "day to day."
We can't find any documented concussions for Welker prior to the 2013 season, but he had his bell rung going over the middle on multiple occasions in his six years with the New England Patriots. In a concussion-sensitive era, it's worth wondering if high-speed collisions will eventually lead to the extinction of the slot receiver.
Although Virgil Green started last week's game in a two-tight end set, Andre Caldwell saw the majority of the playing time in the slot, leading the team in targets, receptions, yards and touchdowns.
It's no coincidence that Peyton Manning had one of his least effective games of the season with Welker out of the lineup. For this offense to operate at its highest level, the slot ninja will have to return in time for the postseason.
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