Thursday, May 31, 2012
Highlights from Branch Q&A
By Field Yates
FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- Veteran wide receiver Deion Branch answered questions from reporters at the conclusion of the Patriots Thursday’s OTA session. Here are some of the highlights from the Q&A:
How are OTAs going? "They’re going pretty good. I’m enjoying the new things that we’re doing. Just trying to keep up on everything as much as I can. Coach got all the guys, asking them to do a lot of things."
Have you been helping out the rookies? "Always. And at the same time we’re just trying to pick up some new things as well. Josh (McDaniels) is throwing a lot of different wrinkles at us, and I think the guys are doing a great job."
What’s it like coming back to Josh McDaniels' system? "It’s great. I had him my last year (of his first stint with the Patriots, in 2005), which was a great year. We didn’t finish how we wanted to, but it was a great season. I think having him back here with all the new things that he’s picked up is good."
Is it healthy to have competition at the wide receiver position? "It’s always good. A lot of fun too. A lot of fun. We’re having a lot of fun, we’re enjoying it. There’s a lot of different things in. Ain’t too much playing going on right now, because everybody’s still picking up all the different things."
How much of a benefit is it to be able to get together this early in the offseason? "It’s good. Last year we didn’t have this. It’s a plus, especially with a new offensive coordinator. That’s the most important thing for us now, picking up the stuff that (McDaniels) wants us doing and going forward."
Do you get reflective at all at this point in your career (entering 11th season)? "Not really. I’m enjoying it. I love it each and every day I’m out there with the guys. We’re having fun. They make me feel young."
On being on the same page as his fellow veteran receivers. "We came in together. It’s so crazy, me, Jabar [Gaffney] and Donte’ [Stallworth] are the same draft class. All three of us in the same draft class. To have the opportunity to play with the guys is great."
On competing with the rest of the receivers. "We’re always competing. Going through the bag drills, we’re always competing. It’s just all about now and executing the plays the coach gives each and every one of us to do. First of all, we’re teammates. We’ve got one goal. We’re all on the same side of the ball, everybody is trying to make plays. They’re going to give everybody the opportunity to make plays and it’s time to cash in."
Most surprising thing about Brandon Lloyd? "He’s everything I thought of. I’ve seen him on film, played against him. Played against him in college. He’s pretty much the player I always thought he was. It’s good to have him on this side."
On whether he has watched Super Bowl XLVI. "I’ve watched it. That’s the best thing, to watch it and put it behind you and move on."
On the differences he sees in McDaniels, either schematically or the way he coaches. "I think it’s a little bit of both. Josh is going to give you about a million plays, and it’s all about the guys picking up stuff. That’s the early phase of the offseason program, once we get into mini-camp, training camp, once we start narrowing things into the season, get a real game plan, we’ll see how it goes from there."
On if he sees any difference in how McDaniels handles himself? "You can look at him and say that. The thing is, I had him as an offensive coordinator. Now that he’s been through the transition of being a head coach and back as an offensive coordinator, it’s totally different."