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A tale of two receivers; Thursday notes

Now that he's had a couple weeks to get readjusted to life in New England, what's different about the Patriots offense since Deion Branch was first here?

"I can't tell you that right now," he laughed. "If I tell you that then [the Vikings]'ll know what's going on.

"It's going pretty good. I'm starting to feel more adjusted," he acknowledged, "getting into the flow with Tom [Brady] and knowing a couple more calls. The coaches are getting me more involved."

One difference Branch was willing to discuss was the makeup of the defense he faces each day in practice.

"You have to think, I came in with Tedy Bruschi, Mike Vrabel, Willie McGinest, Ted Johnson, Ted Washington. These guys were older, veteran guys, experienced guys. The guys we have now are young," Branch noted.

"The same hunger, though," he added. "These young guys, they're very ambitious, they're going to go out and make plays … There's a whole lot more trash talking with these guys. It's funny though, because they remind me of me. I did that just one year. [Then] I think I realized 'I'm saving a lot of energy not talking a lot of trash."

"[Brandon] Spikes is one of them, he's really funny. Meriweather, Brandon's a talker."

One young player who's conspicuous on the field, though may not talk so much, is rookie Devin McCourty. The starting left corner may see quite a bit of his former teammate, Randy Moss, this Sunday when the Minnesota Vikings come to Foxborough.

McCourty credits much of his rapid development to practicing against Moss since the spring.

"Sometimes after a play, he'd give little tips to all the corners," McCourty told reporters. "Just something that, as a wide receiver, he might not like or other receivers might not like, different things that can help you out when you're out there playing corner."

How much, then, will McCourty rely on that intimate knowledge of Moss to help him defend against the future Hall of Famer for real on Sunday?

"I watched him growing up, when I was in school. There wasn't much that could stop him," McCourty replied. "We'll just go out there and try to compete."

Thu 10/28 Practice Notebook

Branch was a late addition to the injury report after tweaking a hamstring. For more news and notes from Thursday's practice, please visit the PFW Blog.

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