Brady on Ochocinco: Things we need to build on

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Brady on Ochocinco: Things we need to build on

By Phil Perry
CSNNE.com

Tom Brady knows that his connection with Chad Ochocinco isn't where he would like it to be for the start of regular season games, but he says their on-the-field rapport is improving steadily.

"I think every day we're out there together, the two of us, working, and him working with Deion Branch and Wes Welker, it gets better every day," Brady said during his weekly segment with WEEI. "We're very much an abbreviated schedule this year with practices, lack of OTAs organized team activities in the offseason. Every team is at the same point, every team has new players. I'm sure it's more challenging this year than it's been in the past. Our offense, for receivers, is a challenging offense. He's a very competitive person and he wants to be out there learning it, he wants to compete, he wants to understand the nuances of what we're doing. Every single day we're out there it gets better."

Though Ochocinco caught a touchdown pass in last week's preseason game with the Buccaneers, Ochocinco seemed disappointed in himself because he was not as in-sync as he hoped to be with the rest of the offense. For Brady's part, he's had a good time trying to get Ochocinco up to speed.

"I enjoy being on the practice field with him, I enjoy sitting there on the sidelines of the games communicating with him. Being out there on the field with him in the games was a great experience for us. Those are the things we need to build on. ... We're working every day to try to speed up the learning curve, so by the time the regular season starts we're where we need to be."

Brady also hit on what has been one of the Patriots' key talking points, especially since last week's preseason game with the Buccaneers: their attacking defense.

"When you put pressure on the quarterback, that's No. 1," Brady said. "Any time you talk to a defensive coach at the beginning of the week, they say 'We have to get after the quarterback.' It was really fun to see from our sideline. Those guys are really teeing off on the quarterback. I love to see that. From another quarterback's perspective, to stand there on the sidelines and watch them attack the quarterback -- force them into quick decisions, force them into throws that you don't want to make but have to make because you don't have time to see the coverages -- that's good for any defensive football team."

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Patriots DT Branch wins appeal of four-game suspension

Patriots DT Branch wins appeal of four-game suspension

FOXBORO -- Alan Branch knew he had a good case, otherwise he wouldn't have appealed. It was just a question of when that appeal might be heard. 

As of Wednesday, the Patriots defensive tackle hadnt heard anything as it related to the appeal of his four-game suspension. But by Saturday morning, according to Field Yates of ESPN, Branch had won the appeal and been cleared of the league's ban. 

Branch's agent later confirmed the news on Twitter.

Word of Branch's punishment, which stemmed from what was reported as a positive marijuana test, became public when reported by ESPN on Nov. 21. Per the league's substance abuse policy, appeal hearings are typically scheduled for the fourth Tuesday after a player has been informed of his penalty. The policy notes that it is possible for appeals to be heard on another date should the two sides be able to work out different schedule, but Branch was not optimistic that would be the case earlier this week. 

Good news came quickly, though. 

Had Branch been forced to miss any time, it would have docked the Patriots arguably their top interior defensive lineman. Branch has started every game, and he leads all Patriots defensive tackles with 457 snaps played. 

The Patriots recently waived running back DJ Foster and signed defensive tackle Darius Kilgo, seemingly as a way to build some depth on the roster if Branch had been suspended. 

By having his four-game suspension wiped away not only are the Patriots saved from having to deal without one of their top players in the trenches, but Branch saved himself a relatively hefty financial penalty.

A four-game ban would have cost him nearly $300,000 in base salary as well as four game-day bonuses adding to $100,000. He also stood to lose as much as $750,000 in season-long playing-time incentives. In all, had the suspension stood, it could have cost him about $1.1 million. Patriots salary-cap expert Miguel Benzan goes into more detail about the potential financial impact of Branch's suspension here

Thankfully for Branch, he doesn't have to worry about that any longer. With this situation in the rear view, he can now focus on helping the Patriots win games during the stretch run of the regular season and into the playoffs.