EAST RUTHERFORD, New Jersey -- Wes Welker and Deion Branch sat with NBC's Rodney Harrison this week in an interview you'll see on NBC's Football Night in America before the Jets-Patriots game. Branch -- who this week bristled with local media when it was suggested the Patriots' offense was struggling -- pooh-poohed the notion that jamming the Patriots is a blueprint for success. "No, thats not a blueprint," said Branch. "Its a lack of execution. Thats the blueprint for us. If we execute, were okay. We only have to throw the ball down the field, five or six times a game. Hey, if were still scoring, still getting passing yards, whatever. Its not a big deal."Harrison, who hasn't shied away from ripping the Patriots on NBC or other places (cough, QuickSlants, cough), asked the receivers if criticism from former teammates was irksome. "We hear the rumors," said Branch. "The thing for us is to stay focused on what is at task, and thats our next game, which is the Jets. Weve got to stay in house . . . go out, work hard, practice hard, and try and put the same thing on the football field on Sunday."Added Welker, "We understand that you all just want to start controversy and everything else, and get more Twitter followers and everything else."To which Harrison replied, "Well, if you played better, Wes, I wouldnt have anything to criticize."
This is the first in a series of position-by-position looks at the Patriots by Tom E. Curran and Phil Perry as we head into the offseason. Today's position: Safety