Deion Branch: ‘We’re not worried about toughness’ with Tom Brady
|10.09.11 at 9:40 pm ET|
FOXBORO — Deion Branch felt Tom Brady‘s pain each time he went down to the Gillette Stadium turf Sunday. But in the back of his mind, he never doubted he would get up.
That’s because Branch thinks Brady is one of the best fighters he’s ever seen in the NFL.
Brady was sacked just four times in the first four games. He was sacked four times alone in Sunday’s 30-21 win over the pressure-hungry Jets. He was also hit five times and pressured several more times throughout the 60 minutes. But Brady managed to 24-of-33 passes for 321 yards and a nine-yard touchdown to Branch. Brady took some hits but kept on counter-punching.
“That’s Tom, though,” Branch said. “This guy’s a fighter, he’s a winner, he’s our leader. He has to get up, we expect him to get up. Now, the next thing for us is to make sure we protect him and for the receivers to make sure we get open fast enough so he can get us the ball and the front line to do to block up good enough so he can do his job.
“But we know he’s going to get up. He’s knows those guys are fighting for him.”
Those guys are offensive line. They had their hands full all afternoon in what was not one of their best games. But Brady hung in the pocket as long as he could, taking at least one sack because his receivers were covered.
“We’re not even worried about the toughness with Tom,” Branch said. “It’s just overall making sure we’re doing the right thing. The times he was hit was when we were making mistakes. It wasn’t like guys were really beat. That’s stuff was just, ‘Hey, he just missed a block.’ Sometimes, you’re going to lose. It’s just all about tightening up the next one.”
In addition to Branch and Wes Welker, Brady was helped out by the 136 yards rushing on 27 carries from BenJarvus Green-Ellis.
“Great player,” Branch said. “The guy just took advantage of opportunities today. Coaches gave him the ball, front line said, ‘Hey, we’re going to run.’ That’s what we did.”
Branch was asked if Green-Ellis served the same role on Sunday that a closer does in baseball. Nope. That’s the job of the offensive line, according to Branch.
“The front line is the closer,” Branch said. “They start it and they finish it. It starts with them. However far this team goes, it’s going to start with them and it’s going to end with them. As long as they protect in the pass game, and they run block, we’ll be OK. We all get the extra credit on the outside but all the credit really, truly goes to those guys. The things they do and what coach Scarnecchia puts them through, one of the best offensive line coaches in the league, period. This guy puts them through everything. We have to protect our pride and joy and they do that.”