Wes Welker presents the Broncos' passing game with a numbers problem.

Already, the Broncos had one receiver, Demaryius Thomas, who had 94 catches last year, and another, Eric Decker, who had 85.

To this prolific passing game the Broncos added Welker, who in six previous seasons with the New England Patriots averaged 112 receptions.

Peyton Manning may be the one of the best quarterbacks of all time, but if he wants to keep his passing game diversified, he can't dish 94 catches to Thomas, 85 to Decker and 112 to Welker in the same season. Somebody has to take fewer.

"If I have to catch 112 balls, that probably means we're in trouble," Welker said Monday after his first practice with the Broncos.

There you go. Problem solved. Welker not only doesn't expect to catch 112 passes now that he's with the Broncos, he believes it's better if he doesn't.

"(The catches) are not the goal," Welker said. "The goal is to go out there and help your team win games. However many catches that is, however many blocks that takes, however many routes I've got to run, whatever. I think we all feel the same way about that."

What Welker's former Patriots and current Broncos have in common are two of the league's top passing games anchored by two of the best quarterbacks in Manning and New England's Tom Brady.

The difference is in where the ball goes. With the notable exception of Randy Moss' record-setting 2007 season, the Patriots don't feature their outside receivers. In recent years, they have become a tight end-slot attack.

Not so the Broncos. For all the questions about Manning's arm strength last year, he threw enough outside the numbers to help Thomas and Decker develop into one of the NFL's top receiver tandems.

Working against the first-team defense Monday, Manning did complete a few passes to Welker, but it was easy to tell the quarterback had played a full season in 2012 with his outside receivers.