Branch focused on task at hand

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Branch focused on task at hand

FOXBORO -- Not one player in the Patriots locker room wants to waste time on the past. They will watch film of old games as they must, to understand the future. But talking about playoff games already won is as unappealing as talking about those lost. Ravens in 2009 ring a bell? The Patriots want to take that bell and make you eat it -- gently -- if only to make the words stop.
Experience in the NFL is invaluable. As each milestone of a season is reached, whether as routine as a bye week or as all-encompassing as an AFC Championship game, Patriots veterans are always asked how they advise newcomers. What's the message? What wisdom can they impart to those who've not been there before? What guidance do they give?
It's a logical expectation -- that those sage warriors should look down to their battle scars and explain each to their peers. It's just not always helpful.
"You can tell with how the playoffs have been going so far... not the most experienced teams are in," Deion Branch said Wednesday. "That pretty much shows you right there that the experience, okay, yeah, some of that stuff, to a point, is key. But once the game starts it's all about playing the game. Executing the plays. Getting out there, running your stuff."
Branch is a 10-year NFL veteran. He spent his first four seasons in New England, worked for four-and-a-quarter in Seattle, then returned. He is beloved for his connection with Tom Brady during Patriots glory days, for being the Most Valuable Player of Super Bowl XXXIX.
But ask Branch to wax about AFC Championship memories and the guy shrugs.
"I can't talk about it, I haven't been in it for so long," he smiled. "The feeling... it's a great feeling once you attain it, but there's nothing I can talk about. I haven't done it in so long. Hopefully we can regain. It's a great feeling."
Part of the brevity is "The Patriot Way." There are hundreds, upon thousands of things the players exchange -- trite as where to get a good steak -- that rightfully stay sacred behind Gillette's innermost walls. Not because it's not for Us but because it is for Them. Imagine Branch refusing a rookie on how to keep the nerves in check next weekend? Impossible.
But that's the other part. Branch wasn't simply withholding -- there just really are some things you can't teach.
"The biggest thing is just making sure we're going out there, executing our game plan. It's not about the magnitude of the game. It's about our focus on the game plan. That's the entire thing."
Not much deviation from the regular season, there. If the Patriots who haven't been to a conference championship don't understand that objective by now, there's probably not much Branch, or any other vet, could do to help anyway.

Blakely: Celtics trying to get No. 7 pick to trade to Knicks

Blakely: Celtics trying to get No. 7 pick to trade to Knicks

With the Knicks and Celtics having yet to find common ground on a trade for Kristaps Porzingis, it appears the C’s are trying to add to their stable of draft picks in order to facilitate an agreement. 

ESPN’s Ian Begley reported Thursday afternoon that Boston was offering a pick it had yet to acquire, with CSNNE’s A. Sherrod Blakely following up that it’s the seventh overall pick. The C’s already have the third overall pick. 

The NBA draft begins Thursday at 7 p.m.

Bruins' 2017-18 schedule has three Habs games in eight days

Bruins' 2017-18 schedule has three Habs games in eight days


The Bruins released their schedule for the 2017-18 season Thursday, with their campaign beginning at TD Garden on Oct. 5 against the Predators. 

Two things stand out in Boston’s schedule. Eleven of their final 15 games are on the road, and they don’t play the Canadiens until mid-January.  

Then, when the B’s and Habs do finally meet, they play three times in an eight-day span. The rivals face each other Jan. 13 in Montreal, Jan. 17 in Boston and Jan. 20 in Montreal. The Bruins’ final regular-season meeting with the Habs is March 3. 

To see the full schedule, click here.