Deion Branch might have needed a couple of quarters to get used to being in a New England Patriots uniform again. After that, it was like he had never left. Branch, who played for the Patriots for four seasons to start his career, was sent back after more than four seasons away.
In his first game back, all he did was catch nine passes for nearly 100 yards against the Baltimore Ravens. One of those snags was a fourth-quarter touchdown pass that got New England back within three points. Eventually, they won the game in overtime.
Who needs Randy Moss anyways?
Deion Branch joined The Dan Patrick Show to discuss the dangers of wide receivers going over the middle, how he and Tom Brady didn’t seem to lose a beat in terms of timing, how much different the second half and overtime were compared to the first half on Sunday and the differences in the Patriots now as opposed to when he left in 2006.
On the dangers of wide receivers going over the middle:
“Just, in general, it’s just dangerous on the football field, whether it’s going across the middle, you’re blocking, you’re running through holes as a running back. But I just think, for the most part, you have to try to play this game as fearless as possible. Not saying that you’re Superman running across the middle because I know I’m not and I never thought I was. But I think with preparation, game study … and then trying to make sure you stay focused on what’s going on around you. … I think I’ve been playing this position a long time. It’s nothing special that I’m doing or any other receiver is doing, running over the middle of the football field. I think credit goes out to the quarterbacks who aren’t putting us in danger.”
On the timing that he and Tom Brady still seem to have:
“I just think it’s a lot of work. I heard Tom speaking to somebody yesterday about the chemistry that we have. I think the biggest thing is the work that we put in in practice, the preparation. I think, out of the four years that I spent here in my earlier days, my first four years, we threw a lot of balls in the offseason, OTAs, training camp, a lot of passes. We did a lot of soul-searching on the football field with each other and I think that’s what’s showing up on Sunday.”
On how much different the later stages of the game were for him compared to early on:
“There really wasn’t a difference. I think it was all about us settling down … from the first half to the second half. I’m never one that’s going to come in and be complaining about balls, ‘Throw me the ball, throw me the ball.’”
On whether that was a dig on Randy Moss:
“No, no. I never take a swipe at nobody. I’m just saying, in general, even though I know I had one ball thrown at me in the first quarter, something like that, and one or two catches, that stuff don’t matter. You have to let the game play itself out, let the coordinators get in the groove of calling plays, let Tom get in sync with throwing the ball … and us carrying out our job.”
On the difference between the Patriots now as opposed to when he left in 2006:
“I think the only thing is you’ve got the youth movement now, where as back then you had the veteran guys, the leadership by all the veterans. Now I think, with the handful of veterans on the team, we’re the ones that have to go out and lead and show these guys what it takes and how to perform when you have games such as yesterday’s. The thing about these young guys, they want it and you can see it in their eyes, you can see it when they take the field. … These guys are trying, the effort is there and you can see them growing together.”