Deion Branch on MFB: ‘When Tom [Brady] is ready to hang it up, that’s when he’ll do it’
|05.30.14 at 2:14 pm ET|
Branch played a combined seven seasons on two separate occasions in New England with Tom Brady as his quarterback, and won a pair of Super Bowls with him. Since the Patriots drafted quarterback Jimmy Garopolo in the second round of this month’s draft, Brady’s window as signal-caller has been questioned on multiple occasions.
Branch sees no end to Brady’s career anytime soon.
“Tom’s window is when Tom is ready to hang it up,” Branch said. “That’s being very open and honest about it. Tom is a hard-working guy, and I think when Tom is ready to hang it up, that’s when he’ll do it.”
Branch does, however, believe that Patriots made a good decision in drafting Garoppolo.
“They have to do what’s in the best interest of the organization,” Branch said. “I think that’s what they did. To add another quarterback obviously picks up the competition level with [Ryan Mallett] and the young man. I think Mallett’s ready to go. I think he’s ready to make that next move.”
Having been drafted by the Patriots, Branch understands the challenges of being a rookie wide receiver in Bill Belichick‘s system. While things have certainly changed in the last decade-plus, he said he expects Aaron Dobson to have a much better second season in New England.
“For me personally, I had a different situation because I had great guys around me like Troy Brown and David Patten,” Branch said. “Unfortunately last season, it was challenging because he didn’t really have guys around him. [Danny Amendola‘s] a good fit, a young veteran, and those guys can show him some things, but I think next year’s going to be a lot better for him.
“His feet are wet now. He knows what it takes to be a professional. I’m sure one year under his belt is always great. Expect it to be a better year for him.”
Branch said learning the Patriots system as a young receiver all comes down to work ethic.
“It all boils down to the guy’s preparation,” he said. “That’s just my opinion. I think it’s guys getting invested into that playbook. They’ll pick it up.
“There’s so much that goes into each game every week, and that in past when we practiced, I’m sure that coach is still running the same things, preparation-wise in practice. In the preparation leading up to the game, the amount of information that [Josh McDaniels] and those guys on the offensive side of the ball are instilling in those guys picks up, and it demands that Tom is pushing the guys on the practice field and you’re expecting the same thing in the game.”
Branch also suggests the Patriots should consider pursuing Texans receiver Andre Johnson.
“It’s hard to say. I’ve been so far out of the loop,” he said. “It’s always good to add a great player like Andre to your roster, that would be a great thing. But to say should they go out and get him, that will be something [Belichick] and the front office will have to decide.
“If it was my decision, I’d love for Andre to suit up for me, but that’s something that they’d have to figure out if he’d fit with this group of guys. There’s other variables that go into it other than just bringing Andre in.”