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Deion Branch Press Conference Transcript

New England Patriots WR Deion Branch addresses the media during his press conference at Gillette Stadium on Friday, January 18, 2013.

Q: Can you talk about the week of practice and how it's been for you guys getting ready?

DB: We had a great week. I think every day we improved on a lot of things, like Coach said. That's the goal: to come in and get better and better each day and I think we did a good job of it. We're finally getting off the frozen tundra, which is a blessing for us. I think we've improved and we're looking forward to the game.

Q: It seemed like perfect attendance at practice today. It's got to be good to have everyone out there today.

DB: Yes, sir. We need everybody for this game. We need everybody and we're sure they're going to have everybody as well. That's what's important – we've got all of our guys.

Q: Some of your greatest success came before you left and after you came back. Is the special connection with Tom Brady because of the time you've spent with him or just because it's Tom Brady?

DB: It's a little of both. I think it's all the work that we put in during the week in the meeting rooms, on the practice field. I promise you, we pretty much hit everything in the playbook. We go over every option and that's what it's about. You never know when something might come up in the game. We want to make sure that we've seen it before and we actually went over it.

Q: What's different about him from other quarterbacks you've worked with?

DB: Preparation. It's all about preparation and then executing. It's totally different.

Q: By the time Tom Brady has reached Friday, do you see something in him after a week of preparation that gives you a comforting feeling knowing you've done everything you can possibly do?

DB: You know, it never ends with Tom. This goes from the game last Sunday to him starting to prepare for Baltimore right after the game – the Houston game. And it goes all the way to Saturday. Trust me, we're going over stuff Saturday morning, Saturday night. Sunday morning before the game in the meetings, we're still going over things. It's always good to be prepared for an opponent like the Ravens.

Q: As we saw Sunday when Danny Woodhead got hurt, it changed some of the things you had prepared. What does it say about this offense that you could overcome game time adversity like that?

DB: I think the biggest thing is Coach put us through all those things in practice. Even though there were a lot of plays called for Woodhead, he made sure that Shane [Vereen] also got a couple reps in and made sure [Stevan] Ridley got a couple reps in. You never know. Injuries are going to happen in this game. Guys are going to miss some plays. Some guys may be tired and need a break. You know, Coach puts us through certain things to make sure everybody gets the opportunity to go out and make those plays as well.

Q: How big of a role can an emotional story line play once a game gets going? I know last year you guys talked about Myra Kraft and riding that wave. This year the Ravens have some emotional Ray Lewis story lines. Once a game starts, how big of a role can that play?

DB: I don't know. I think just based off their team, if that's what's been getting them through the postseason then that's a good thing for them. I think once the game starts, it's all about that game of football. Going out there, executing your plays. The team who's the most prepared, who executes the plays, is going to win the game Sunday.

Q: You've had some good playoff rivalries with the Colts and Steelers, but are the Ravens your big playoff rival now?

DB: I mean, it seems like we play these guys – we played them two times this year, once last year. It's starting it become the norm now. They might as well add them to the AFC East, we play them that much. And it's also good to play against good competition. To be the best you want to beat the best and they're one of the best defenses in the NFL.

Q: How much did Brian Daboll help you early in your career?

DB: A whole lot. Not only Brian – I think with the help of Coach Daboll, but at the same time I'll give a lot of credit to Troy Brown and David Patten. I think those three guys collectively were the reason I'm standing in front of you all and the knowledge that I have for the game comes from those guys.

Q: Has he been a presence in practice this week?

DB: Yes, sir. And I'm pretty sure they're doing a lot of things in the meeting rooms together as well.

Q: Is there anything particular this season you have learned about yourself?

DB: I didn't think I was as patient as I am. I think me starting in the NFL for so long and now the role that I have, I didn't know if I could do it. And I see that I can because the goal is bigger than just me, you know. Me just wanting to be out on the field, starting every game, contributing – I want to do all those things. But at the same time if the coach needs me to go in on third down, then I just have to do my job. That's just one of the things that I've learned. I accept it and I'm going to roll with it; whatever the coach needs me to do, I'm going to do it.

Q: Given what you've been through this year, how much does it mean for you to be standing up here getting ready for the AFC Championship?

DB: It's a lot. This isn't our bigger goal, though, trust me. It's a blessing to be a part of this game, to have an opportunity to play in the AFC Conference Championship, but the goal is bigger for this team.

Q: How is your mindset different heading into this conference championship than others you played in the past? Do you cherish it a little more as you get older?

DB: Yeah, I mean, I'm going to always do that every day. I think we all have to be very thankful to play this game, whether it's us in the position that we're in or the guys who didn't make the postseason. You still have to be very thankful for the opportunity to play this game. There are a million guys who set out each and every year to play in the NFL; there's only a select few guys who are going to make it. I'm very thankful that I'm one of those guys.

Q: As you get older and with the season you had, does that change your mindset?

DB: No. I'm always straight forward. It's a blessing.

Q: You mentioned Shane Vereen. How impressed were you with what he was able to do when he was called upon? Especially since he was inactive last year in the playoffs and that could have beat up his confidence a bit.

DB: It may sound crazy, but I wasn't impressed, because I see this. I'm just saying, in general with this guy, we see this every day on the practice field. It's just all about the opportunities that guys get. Not only him, but [Stevan] Ridley, [Brandon] Bolden. Given the opportunity, we know that these guys can do it and the coach trusts that they can do it; that's why he puts them on the field. That's why they're on the team. Because coach feels like they can do it once they're called upon. It's just all about getting the opportunity.

Q: Stevan's a guy that had the hot hand –

DB: Yeah, they keep giving it to him. But I've seen Vereen do those things in practice every day.

Q: What are some of the characteristics of the rivalry with the Ravens that might be different from other rivalries? Anything special about this one?

DB: No, because each one of them is totally different. I think at the end of the game Sunday, I'll be able to tell you that. But I think the ones in the past, the Pittsburgh rivalries, postseason rivalries, all of those are so different. The one last year, juts totally different. We'll see what the difference is between this one and last year after the game. Hopefully the outcome is the same.

Q: Is the way you guys plug guys into certain roles what separates the Patriots from other teams?

DB: Well, that's the thing about this team. We've got a bunch of guys who are unselfish and that's what's important. I think we put the team first in everything that we do. That is something that creates success in a team. We've had a bunch of guys who probably could even start elsewhere, but I think most of all, this is where guys want to be. They enjoy it, enjoy playing here, enjoy being in the locker room. We take the coaching that Coach Belichick gives us and we put it out on the football field. I think the way that this team prepares before each and every game is what separates us from every team, though.

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