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Deion Branch Press Conference Transcript

New England Patriots WR Deion Branch addresses the media during his press conference on Friday, January 20, 2012.

Q: Can you talk about Baltimore Ravens safety Ed Reed's leadership?  

DB: I've been seeing it throughout my entire career. We came in together. This guy is a playmaker and he's all over the football field. He takes chances and comes through for his team. He's doing everything at will. He said the other day that he was banged up, but this guy is giving it his all each and every play.  

Q: Can you talk about the leadership of Ravens linebacker Ray Lewis?  

DB: Ray is everything. This guy has 16 years; that's a blessing. From the looks of it on the film, he hasn't lost a step, he's the same way. They surround themselves around Ray and they push themselves. He pushes his guys and gets them going. He does a great job of doing it, they follow his lead and he's a great leader.  

Q: Is there any one player specifically on the Patriots who's a great leader?  

DB: Tom [Brady] is one of the guys who is a leader. Everything starts with him. It starts and ends with Tom. All of the guys gel around him and we follow his lead.  

Q: How is the focus and determination from Tom Brady heading into a game of this magnitude?  

DB: It's the same every week. Game plans and stuff change. The biggest goal is getting a victory regardless of how you get it. You're not going to speak about last year. We went out, things weren't perfect, but we executed plays when we had to. He made the plays when he had to make them and we came out with the victory. Our biggest thing this week is that we'll have to play a lot better than that to get the victory. Whatever happens on the football field Sunday, if we execute our plays, we should be okay.  

Q: How has this team created an identity after dealing with comparisons from past teams and players?  

DB: We don't focus on things that happen in the past. Every year is different and this is a totally different team from the ones we've had in the past. Some of the guys are still here from last year, but as far as the game this week, it's totally different from last year. It's a totally different game, the personnel is different, and the game plan is different. Our biggest thing is to worry about what's on task and what's going on Sunday instead of last year.  

Q: How has this team created a new identity?  

DB: That's the biggest thing each and every year. The 2011 Patriots is this year. Next year's team is going to be totally different from this year's. I think the biggest thing is for guys to not dwell on things that happen in the past. That's something we're not going to do.  

Q: Can you talk about the Patriots being the favorite entering Sunday's game?  

DB: We've been the underdog all year. If we let it stay that way, we'll be cool. We aren't even supposed to be here according to the media. The only focus we have [are] the guys in the locker room. We worry about our game plan and execution. We don't worry about the rest of the stuff. That's my first time hearing about [being the underdog]. I promise you. My TV hasn't been on ESPN for two months. Any sports channel, not just to single out ESPN, but any sports channel. I think the guys in the locker room are focused on one task and that's taking care of our business.  

Q: Can you talk about the success of tight ends Rob Gronkowski and Aaron Hernandez this year?  

DB: I think it's great. I get the opportunity to see that every day in practice. I think you all get the joy of seeing him on Sunday. I get to see him four and five days before it actually happens. The things they are doing on the football field aren't a shocker to me or the guys on the football field. They know what they can do. The coaches do a great job of coaching those guys up and getting them prepared to play a game. They do a good job of going out there and executing plays, doing what Tom [Brady] needs them to do and being where he wants them to be. We're thankful to have those two guys with us and they are going to get better and better. Everybody can improve across the board and they have a lot of improving to do as well. That's a good thing.  

Q: How have Rob Gronkowski and Aaron Hernandez helped you as a receiver?  

DB: We all complement each other in some kind of way according to our offense. Everybody has a job and a role. The most important thing is that guys are very unselfish. We're not going into the game asking for the ball. You'll never hear that. As competitors, everyone wants the ball, but the biggest thing is operating and running our offense. However we do that, that's Coach [Bill] O'Brien's job to figure out how to get all the guys the football, which he's been doing a great job of doing.  

Q: Have you played on a previous team that had this much versatility?  

DB: It's happened in the past. Those are things we do when we have the opportunity to do them. I'm not going to sit here and tell you we're going to run this all year long. It's all about game planning and if we have the opportunity to run certain plays, we'll do that. Guys are versatile, especially with this offense. It's fun for you all to see it. It's fun for us to do it as well especially when the guys get the opportunity to get in the backfield and play quarterback, which hasn't happened yet. I'm still trying to get myself a pass in at some point.  

Q: What drives this team?  

DB: This is what it's all about. Getting to this point and taking advantage of this opportunity. Playing for what all 32 teams set to be playing in and to cap this entire season off. This is what it's about right here. Now, it's all about seizing the moment. Trust me, the day Coach [Belichick] called and told me they were thinking about bringing me back, that was the first thing that was on my mind. Having an opportunity to get back and play with the organization where I started, which is a blessing, and to also be in this position.  

Q: What are you expecting from the home crowd this week?  

DB: It's going to be a lot better than last week. It was great last week, but this may be the highest. We have the best fans in the world and I promise they'll be there full, loud, and ready to go and backing the team.  

Q: Does it help when the home crowd is quiet when the offense is on the field?  

DB: That was the time that we were telling them to calm down. They get so rowdy when we start moving the ball. There were a couple times when we were in the huddle telling the crowd to calm down a little bit because it's pretty loud. We were trying to make all kinds of checks and you're supposed to do that when the team is on defense. But we truly appreciate it.  

Q: Do you have any idea why the Ravens defense plays better at home as opposed to the road?  

DB: Let's just hope that pattern keeps going. I'm not on the defensive side of the ball, but let's just hope it stays that way.  

Q: Can you talk about past occasions where the Patriots were not as respected as they should be and how they feel they are respected now?  

DB: There were times where you could say that and even now to this day it floats around. We hear rumblings and stuff, but do we pay attention to it? No. We just go out and play football and let our play do the talking.  

Q: How do you feel Coach Bill O'Brien will do as the head coach at Penn State?  

DB: I think he'll do a great job. I think right now, he needs to do a tremendous job for us on Sunday. He's a great coach and a passionate coach. He truly loves his players. I truly enjoyed my two years with him. He'll be a great coach though.  

Q: Has this team been playing for Mr. Kraft after the death of his wife, Myra?  

DB: The things that have happened here lately we don't need to talk about. It's very evident, starting with Mrs. Myra [Kraft]. Nobody could stand in Mr. Kraft's shoes right now because it's hard to tell how he's feeling. I've never been in that position. He knows that we truly love him and that we're here for him. We're going to try and do our job, execute and do what he wants his team to do. We all know what we're playing for. It's a bigger picture than just playing football. That's what we're here for and we're very thankful he gave us the opportunity.

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