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Deion Branch Conference Call Transcript
Q: Over this condensed practice schedule, do you change the way you approach the game at all? Do the mental reps, time in the playbook and film room become more important because you do not get the same level of physical on field reps that you usually get?
DB: I think overall most of the stuff is controlled by Coach Belichick. Most of the practices and everything in the stretch we’re going through right now, Coach Belichick has a good grasp on how much he practices us, how long practice is going and the amount of plays guys are getting. I think overall, all of the guys feel pretty good with where we are. We know it’s training camp still and we’ve got to put the work in. It is what it is. I think overall me personally being a veteran guy, I understand the game and how to go into it, but at the same time Coach Belichick knows how much to put on a guy’s plate and how much to take off their plate.
Q: Will this schedule help you prepare for the regular season where you guys do have a stretch where you play on a Sunday night and then play again on Thanksgiving night?
DB: Well that’s what we hope. That’s the plan. I think the only thing that will be a lot different is that in training camp you have so many guys, you want to try to also get a lot of guys involved and get some evaluation on a bunch of guys. Once the season starts it will be your main guys, your core guys will be playing. So as far as practice and stuff, that may be a little different, but as far as the game, we all love the game, but the game starts in practice. So I think the biggest thing is that most of the guys will be coming off one game and then going into another game. There will be a lot of reps that the ones will be taking and stuff like that, so that’s the stuff that we’ll have to manage a little differently once the season starts versus in training camp.
Q: How do you feel personally after playing quite a bit the other night?
DB: Yeah, I tried to get a little bit in on defense too [laughs], but I feel pretty good. I’m just happy to be out there running around with the guys man. There’s one thing about—me and Tom [Brady] were just talking about this game just a while ago—football isn’t meant for everybody to play. It’s a very mentally straining job as far as the game. Only certain guys are picked to play this game and the ones who are chosen, those are the ones that stand out. You have to stand strong through these times here. But at the same time we’re blessed and we also love the game as well.
Q: You have been through a lot of camps in your day. How competitive is the wide receiver position this year? Is it more so then others you’ve seen in the past?
DB: It’s the same as all of them. Trust me I’m dead honest when I say this, I’ve gone into each training camp since my rookie season the same as I did this one: ready to compete and I came in prepared. Just doing everything the coaches ask of me, whether that be special teams, whatever, any position on the football field [and] making sure I know every receiver position. That’s our job and I honestly will say that has been the training throughout my entire 11 years.
Q: I am sure you’ve seen a lot of Brandon Lloyd over the years in highlight films and everything. Does he come in and surprise you at all?
DB: No. I just think it’s the way that the guy approaches the game in the classroom. Everybody tends to forget that that’s where the game is pretty much won. You know you get the mental edge over your competitors. I think we all know how to play the game of football, but as far as taking in everything that the coaches give you in the classroom and going out and putting it on the football field, that’s what separates you. Just his athletic raw ability that’s the thing that we’ve all been seeing throughout the years in the highlights, but as far as you see why he is the receiver that he is, it’s because he’s a student of the game in the classroom.
Q: Have you had a chance to check out Jeff Demps and if so, what do you think he can bring to the team offensively?
DB: The thing is, the coaches have done a great job of slowly working him in. He’s just come from London, doing a great job for our country and the last thing they want to do is just throw him out there to the wolves, that’s not the right thing. That’s what I know they’re not going to do but from what I’ve been seeing from the amount of time they’ve slowly worked him in, he looks pretty good and I think he’ll continue to get better.
Q: Does his speed hit you immediately? Do you notice him right away because of his bursts?
DB: No. He’s been doing it ever since I’ve been watching him. He was at Florida running track. I’m big on the track thing, I’ve been watching the Olympics and all that. Trust me, this guy is a world class sprinter. The speed that he’s displaying on the football field isn’t surprising. It is what it is; he’s everything we thought he was.
Q: You had seen quite a bit of him running track before?
DB: Yes sir, I have, especially when he was back at Florida. I’ve been looking at the trials and stuff, seeing him running there and then in the Olympics. I’ve seen him quite a bit.
Q: I take it there is no longer a discussion about who the fastest guy on the team is?
DB: See, well he’s the fastest guy on the team but clearly [Matthew] Slater is another fast guy, I mean a very fast guy. Who knows, I mean if this guy truly probably put a little more emphasis on running track he would probably be the same. You have to remember that football speed and track speed are two different speeds, you know what I’m saying? You could get a track guy who can run the 40 but he may not run as fast competing and playing on the football field. That’s not the same with Demps though. He runs fast period. But I’ve been around the game where I’ve seen a bunch of track guys try to play football and it just didn’t work out. But this guy naturally is a football player blessed with that speed.
Q: We have heard Coach Belichick talk about joint practices and how beneficial they can be. Are there any drawbacks to the joint practices in your mind?
DB: From my experience, this is my first year experiencing it though. With this being my first year, I would say no because everything worked out well. I think both teams understood what we were coming in to do, to get some work in and that’s it, not to be out there trying to hurt one another and all that other mess. From what happened this year, no. The ones that I’ve seen on TV in the past, you seen the drawbacks to it, when you have guys that are not being fair, taking cheap shots at one another, little stuff like that. But it happened twice, both teams were very respectful of one another. We went out, got two great days of work in with both teams with the Saints and also the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and I think everything was pretty good on our side.