FOXBORO -- It's hard to discern during OTAs what's solid intel and what's just happenstance.
For instance, if a coach calls for a player to jump in on kickoff returns as a fill-in, but the media doesn't know the tenor of the request, misreads happen.
Rightly or wrongly, I spend more time watching formations and individual work than "scheme" stuff. So it made me perk up some when I heard Deion Branch say that Josh McDaniels "has thrown a lot of different wrinkles at us" during the OTAs.
McDaniels' NFL orientation came with the Patriots and he was schooled in the offense authored by Charlie Weis, Bill Belichick and Tom Brady. But McDaniels had the opportunity to add to his tool belt as head coach in Denver and then as offensive coordinator for the Rams. Branch welcomes McDaniels back "and all the great things he picked up."
And it was interesting to hear Branch add that "there ain't too much (fooling around) going on because everyone is still picking up the offense. It's a plus especially with a new offensive coordinator and doing the new stuff we're doing."
Branch also says he's enjoying the chance to play with longtime friends Jabar Gaffney and Donte Stallworth for the first time.
"We all came in together, me Jabar and Donte were all in the same draft class and to have an opportunity to play with those guys is great," said the 2002 second-rounder.
Stallworth was the first of the wideouts taken in the 2002 draft -- 13th overall to New Orleans. Gaffney went 33rd to the Texans (Houston's second draft pick ever), and Branch was the final pick of the second round (65 overall).