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Wes Welker 'looks like a shell of the player' he was with Patriots

Wes Welker is showing his age and/or injury history, writes Grantland's Bill Barnwell.

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Welker's subpar day is worth mentioning. He had three catches for 31 yards on eight targets, including an interception on a pass he should have caught but instead tipped into the air. Welker took a nasty hit on that interception, suffering a back injury that consigned him to the sideline for the remainder of the game. The reality, sadly, is that Welker looks like a shell of the player he was even two years ago.

He's now averaging just 35.3 receiving yards per game this season, a far cry from the 59.8-yard average he had with the Broncos last year, let alone the 84.6 yards per game he had during his final season with the Patriots in 2012. Welker has looked and moved like a different guy this year, and if the hit he took impaired his back, it's hard to imagine those figures getting better.

Yes, that 35.3-yard average is excluding the two games he missed this year; now that he's listed as day-to-day with a back bruise, he may miss even more time. With a salary cap figure of nearly $8 million in 2014, the Denver Broncos are getting far from their money's worth from Welker this year.

While Peyton Manning just last week said Welker was critical to what the Broncos do on offense, the tape - including that interception - doesn't reflect that this year.