|Deion Branch, Andre Carter on M&M: ‘We’ve got our hands full’ with Steelers||10.24.11 at 11:49 am ET|
Patriots receiver Deion Branch and defensive end Andre Carter made their weekly Patriots Monday appearances with Mut & Merloni Monday morning, as the team wraps up its bye weekend.
“The batteries are recharged,” Carter said. “Back to work. Back to reality.”
The Patriots next play the Steelers on Sunday in Pittsburgh.
“We’ve got our hands full,” Branch said. “We’ve got to hit the ground running this week. We’ve got a big game. I know all the guys are excited to get back and get started.”
Added Branch: “This is going to be a great challenge for us this week, coming off this bye week, just to see exactly where we stand.”
Branch said that while Patriots-Steelers is a great rivalry, every opponent the Patriots face treats the game like a rivalry game.
“Every game is big,” Branch said. “We’re going to get every team’s best, and we’re going to give every team our best. We know that going into the game each and every week that we’re going to get this team’s best, period. So, we’ve got to go out there and match that intensity across the board, from player to player and coach to coach.”
Going up against the Steelers means squaring off against Ben Roethlisberger, who Carter calls “the biggest quarterback” he’s ever faced.
“He can be very dangerous for a pass rusher, whether it’s a defensive end or a defensive tackle,” Carter said. “You’ve just kind of got to know and understand, OK, what is he looking at and what is he trying to accomplish? I think in general, we’ve just got to continue to keep our motors running and just try to bring him down or get him flustered. … He’s a tough man, but overall, if you can get him flustered, put a hand in his face, just try to confuse him a little bit so he can make bad passes or force interceptions, that’s definitely the goal.”
Carter said he’s enjoying his first season in New England after a tough year in 2010 with the Redskins, who had shifted him to outside linebacker.
“It’s kind of like night and day,” Carter said of his transition. “I came to the New England Patriots, they needed a defensive end. I played the right side — as you know, sometimes I do flip-flop. But I asked them: Is this a position that I’ll be able to put my hands in the dirt, because that’s how I’m more effective. And talking to coach [Bill] Belichick, talking to most of the coaches, that’s what they knew I could do. They knew my potential.”
Carter said last year’s experience did provide him with some insight, however.
“Even though I didn’t fit in that system, I was a professional,” he said. “I never complained. I came there ready to work. At the same time, I learned more about the game, understand how coverages work, how things work on the back end. So, from a positive aspect, it enlightened me to become a better player and have a little better understanding, knowledge of the game of football, especially in that particular scheme. Like I said, it is an easy scheme. It’s just unfortunate I just wasn’t the right fit.”
There is a widely circulated photo from the weekend of a shirtless Rob Gronkowski posing with an adult film star who is wearing his jersey. Branch and Carter said they were not aware of the tight end’s exploits.
Said Carter: “Why am I not surprised. That’s my boy for you. Show the guns, show the abs. He’s a youngster, I guess he can do that.”
Branch said Gronkowski will be in for some teasing this week.
“Rob’s a great kid, he brings a lot of energy in this locker room,” Branch said. “If those pictures are true, which I can’t wait to see, there’s going to be a lot of things that are going to be said in this locker room.”
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