Deion Branch: ‘My numbers aren’t what I would want’ but I’m happy
|12.21.11 at 2:12 pm ET|
FOXBORO — For all the talk this week about the unselfish receiving corps and Tom Brady‘s ability to spread the ball around, Deion Branch did admit Wednesday that every receiver is human and everyone on offense would like to contribute to the team’s success.
Branch has caught 48 balls this season for 665 yards and four touchdowns. Those numbers don’t sound bad, especially considering he missed last Sunday with a sore groin and he has shared the load with Rob Gronkowski, Aaron Hernandez and Wes Welker this season.
And consider Branch is averaging a full yard more than his 12.9 yards-per-catch average. He is just two catches away from his career average of 50 a season and he’s already surpassed his average of 3.8 TD catches per season in his 10th NFL campaign.
Branch, though, is expecting more. But deep down, the 32-year-old veteran receiver said it’s not that hard to think team first, especially in an organization that’s won 9 division titles in 11 years.
“It’s easy,” said Branch, who returned to practice this week and said he’s “feeling better” after missing Sunday with a sore groin. “I look at myself. My numbers aren’t what I would want them to be. But at the same time, we have these young guys playing hard, playing great. Over here, you have to put your ego to the side and the most important thing is to get the victory and not worrying about my numbers. Wes doesn’t worry about his stats, Gronk doesn’t worry about his stats, Aaron, Chad.
“Take a guy like Chad for example, this guy doesn’t worry about his stats, he wants to win, too. On the flip side, we all want to compete but the most important thing is getting the victory.”
It was Branch who felt a great deal of pride for Ochocinco, who did the “Belichick” and just trotted over to the sidelines without any fanfare after the 33-yard TD grab Sunday.
“I was very happy for him,” Branch said with a wide smile. “I did see that, I did see my guy score. I didn’t see the antics that happened off the field. I didn’t see that part.”
Antics? Celebration? Do tell, Deion.
“I heard about the same thing you all have been hearing,” chuckled Branch. “I didn’t see it.”
What was it like for Branch to watch the game at home in Foxboro?
“You can look at it and think about how good we could be, what things look like from a fan’s point of view, a spectator and the things we can improve on,” Branch said Wednesday. “You can also see where I was making some of the mistakes guys were making in the game but at the same time, you also see the continuity the guys have and the repore they have with Tom, the front line, the different calls he’s making. I know the calls but you all don’t them. But for me to see that, it’s like, ‘Man, we’re OK.’
“I wish I was out there with the guys. But overall, the guys did a great job of going out there and getting the victory. I saw a good bit of it. Other than that, I was out at my house, rehabbing, trying to get myself right so I can get back out there with the guys.”
Overall, Branch said he’s feeling pretty good about his 11-3 teammates.
“We’re playing pretty good,” Branch said. “There’s still a lot of room for improvement. You all can see that every game, let alone us. We know exactly what we need to improve on each and every week. This week it’s a different week, different game plan. Now, it’s just about going out and executing it.”
What would be his wish for this Christmas?
“I tell my mom and my wife, I’m cool on the gifts,” Branch said. “I just want to wake up and my family wake up, I’m happy. I just love seeing my kids having fun and seeing my wife, and for us to get the victory, that’d be great.”