Ramble On Sports

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Posts Tagged ‘Deion Branch stats’

Five thoughts from Pats/Ravens

Posted by bdowd625 on October 17, 2010

What a game. What a win for the Patriots, who, at the moment, have to be in the discussion as one of the top teams in the NFL at 4-1. I needed a cigarette when it was finally over, but I suppose that’s better than Prozac. And now, it’s time for our weekly five thoughts from Pats/Ravens.

* The New England defense was OUTSTANDING in the fourth quarter and in overtime. Raise your hand if you thought the Pats had a chance to win in OT after losing the coin toss. If your hand is in the air, you have more faith than this guy. I didn’t think New England had a snowball’s chance in hell when the Ravens got the ball first, but the defense just kept making stops, and, after a bit of offensive futility, the Pats moved the ball into field-goal range for Stephen Gostkowski.

* Speaking of Gostkowski, I was pretty nervous when he lined up to take that game-winning kick. For the most part, he’s been money in the bank during his Patriots career, but he’s been a little shaky through the first four games of the season. He had no such issues today, though, blasting a 35-yarder for the win after the 2-minute warning served as our weekly version of “icing the kicker.”

* For all the good that Aaron Hernandez has done so far, he was BRUTAL down the stretch today. The fourth-rounder out of Florida had two inexcusable drops late in the game, miscues that stalled New England’s drives at crucial times. I know I told him to smoke up a few weeks ago, but maybe it’s time to curtail some of the marijuana use.

* If and when I have a kid someday, I’m going to name him (or her, for that matter) Danny Woodhead. Just imagine how inspired that kid would be to overcome insurmountable odds. Have a tough math test coming up that you didn’t study for? Little Danny Woodhead knows how to pull an A+ out of his/her ass. Last pick in dodgeball during recess? Little Danny is about to peg you right in the head to end the game. All joking aside, I love the guy. He’s a perfect fit for what this offense is trying to accomplish.

* And last but not least – welcome back, Deion Branch. One of Tom Brady’s favorite wideouts looked like he never missed a beat since heading to Seattle a few years back. Branch had several key catches for the Pats, including a big touchdown grab to cut New England’s deficit to 20-17. Here’s hoping Branch will bring back that old Patriot magic in the weeks to come.

Now all you Pats fans better go cheer for Denver against the Jets. J-E-T-S! SUCK! SUCK! SUCK!

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Belichick proves his genius yet again

Posted by Bill Koch on October 12, 2010

Can we all take a step back and realize that Bill Belichick is still playing chess while the rest of the NFL plays checkers?

He sent a wide receiver who wasn’t going to get his big contract, who was going to walk away at the end of the season no matter what and who was shut out in his last game with the New England Patriots out of town and got something valuable in return. He also just traded Laurence Maroney for Deion Branch, replacing that disgruntled wide receiver and keeping his star quarterback happy in the process.

Don’t believe me? Let’s break this down in excruciating detail for those of you who refuse to see the big picture.

Randy Moss had nine catches in four games with New England this year. He had zero catches while the Patriots rolled up 41 points on the Miami Dolphins and Tom Brady was still excellent in that game, going 19-for-24. Moss is well on the wrong side of 30, and you don’t get faster with age unless you play Major League Baseball and can use performance-enhancing drugs. He wants one final big contract to ride off into the sunset. He wasn’t going to get that contract in New England after he turned down Belichick’s offer to talk in training camp. He had one foot out the door, no matter how physically talented everyone thinks he still might be.

Let’s dismiss the talk about how much defensive attention that Moss draws, because it’s overstated at this point in his career. Perception becomes reality after a while, but that doesn’t mean it’s the truth. Darrelle Revis shut him down 1-on-1 last season, and he did it twice. Brady threw one of his worst passes of this season in Moss’ direction during that Week 2 embarrassment somewhere in the Swamps of Jersey, an interception disguised as a jump ball that gave the New York Jets all the momentum. It wasn’t the first time that Brady, Daunte Culpepper, Randall Cunningham or any of Moss’ other former quarterbacks have made a poor decision with him in the lineup. It wasn’t going to be the last.

Turnovers kill teams in the NFL, and Brady turned it over a lot less when he was winning championships by using his tight ends, hitting receivers on quick passes to move the chains and avoiding the rush by delivering the ball efficiently. Now that Aaron Hernandez, Rob Gronkowski, Wes Welker, Branch and Brandon Tate are in place and ready to roll, look for Brady’s former self to emerge. That’s a guy that we want quarterbacking our favorite team. Moss was never a part of that mix. He was a luxury item who had stopped going over the middle and had become a decoy. You can pay Tate a lot less money to have him run down the sideline and be a decoy.

We all know that Brady threw a hissy fit behind the scenes when he found out that Moss was gone. That’s what every quarterback does when it looks like his weaponry is being reduced. It’s not a coincidence that the first name out of Brady’s mouth was that of a former teammate, or that said former teammate – Branch – ended up in Foxboro less than 24 hours later.

Belichick knows that if Brady isn’t happy, he won’t be happy. His team won’t be happy. His fans and his owner won’t be happy. He decided to keep everybody happy, and all it cost him was the same fourth round pick that he just acquired for Maroney. Did Maroney ever make anybody happy in Foxboro? He has now, and he has Belichick to thank for it. That’s about as close to doing the impossible as you can get. Oh yeah – the Patriots still have their own fourth round pick in 2011 along with six other picks in the first three rounds.

Check mate.

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Patriots Branch out, acquire former wide receiver

Posted by bdowd625 on October 11, 2010

ESPN’s Adam Schefter broke the news tonight that Seattle Seahawks wide receiver Deion Branch is heading back to New England for his second tour of duty with the Patriots. (Those of you who follow us here at Ramble On know we trust Schefter as much as our own mothers. Maybe even more so. Sorry, Mom.) In exchange for Branch, the Seahawks will receive a fourth-round draft choice, and since the Pats stockpile draft picks like I hoarded pogs back in sixth grade, they’re really not losing much.

We applaud the Patriots for getting back to their roots and re-acquiring a solid citizen like Branch. It doesn’t hurt that he’s still got some talent – Branch was the Super Bowl MVP back when the Pats edged Carolina during the 2003-04 season – and is, by all accounts, extremely close with quarterback Tom Brady. But let’s not get carried away here, people. This isn’t seven years ago. Branch – and Brady, for that matter – aren’t getting any younger. Branch, 31, has battled injury problems since heading to Seattle before the start of the 2006 campaign, playing in only 51 of a possible 68 regular-season games. He’s on pace for 52 catches this season, though, and he hasn’t hauled in that many passes since his first season with the Seahawks. (If you’re curious, Branch had 78 receptions and five TDs in his last season with Brady and the Pats.)

Don’t get us wrong – we welcome Branch back with open arms and hope this trade returns New England to its real glory days. We’re just not overly optimistic at this point. I guess we’ll get our first taste when New England returns to action following a bye during Week 5. First up for the new-look Pats? Baltimore. Bring. It. On.

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