Branch isn't sweating catchless preseason


Branch isn't sweating catchless preseason

By Tom E. Curran Patriots Insider Follow @tomecurran
In two preseason games, Deion Branch has had a ball thrown in his direction once. One time. Kathy Bates gets more passes (fwamp).

Branch threw a tremendous tirade about it during a conference call with media Monday afternoon. (No. He didn't.)

"As a receiver you want the ball, but we understand and I understand what were doing as far as working the things that were trying to do, working the kinks out in our offense," Branch explained. "Trust me, I have all the confidence in the world that Tom Brady will find me when he needs me, when the coaches make certain play calls for him to come to me with the ball. Right now Im not stressing over the fact that I havent caught a ball in preseason."

Unlike Chad Ochocinco, Branch has a deep knowledge of this offense. He can spend the preseason getting his reps, while Ocho really needs looks and touches at this point.

Branch said the offense can be hard to grasp, although it wasn't for him as a rookie coming out of Louisville because he ran similar routes.

"I didnt think the offense was that hard for me my rookie season because we sort of ran some of the things," he explained. "Language may be different, but the play is pretty much going to be the same routes and all that stuff. But its just all based on the individual. And then just working with Tom Brady. Its a pretty complex offense.

"I think once you get it, you understand it. Once you take the time to figure out one players position and then you can go and learn another position and another one."

With Ocho getting immersed, Taylor Price, Julian Edelman and Brandon Tate trying to establish their roles, Branch is the least of the Patriots wideout worries.

Tom E. Curran can be reached at Follow Tom on Twitter at http:twitter.comtomecurran.

Butler imitates Brown with post-interception dance: 'Nothing personal'


Butler imitates Brown with post-interception dance: 'Nothing personal'

Malcolm Butler didn't mean any disrespect. After all, imitation is the sincerest form of flattery. 


When the Patriots corner picked off a Landry Jones pass in the first quarter -- one that was intended for receiver Antonio Brown -- Butler stood up in the end zone, faced the Heinz Field crowd, stuck one arm in the air a and gyrated like someone had attached jumper cables to his facemask. 

He was doing his best to mimick one of Brown's well-known touchdown dances.

"Me and Brown had conversation before," Butler said, "and it was a joke to him once I showed him how I do it. Much love for that guy. Nothing personal."

For Butler, it was the highlight of what was a productive afternoon. The third-year corner was asked to shadow Brown for much of the day, and he allowed Brown to catch five of nine targets for 94 yards. He also broke up a pair of passes intended for Brown's teammates.

“Stopping Antonio Brown, that’s impossible," Butler said. "You can’t stop him. You can only slow him down. I just went out there and tried to compete today . . . Great players are going to make plays but you have to match their intensity.”
Even on the longest throw from backup quarterback Landry Jones to Brown, a 51-yarder, it appeared as though Butler played the coverage called correctly. 

Butler lined up across from Brown and trailed him underneath as Brown worked his jway from the left side of the field to the right. Butler was looking for some help over the top in that scenario, seemingly, but because Brown ran across the formation, it was hard for the back end of the defense to figure out who would be helping Butler. 

Belichick admitted as much after the game. 

"He was on [Brown] a lot the way we set it up," Belichick said. "Look, they've got great players. They're tough to cover. They hit us on a couple over routes, in cut where they kind of ran away from the coverage that we had. 

"The plays were well designed. Good scheme, good thorws and obviously good routes by Brown. They got us on a couple, but I thought we competed hard. We battled all the way. We battled on third down. We battled in the red area. They made some. We made some, but they're good. They have a lot of good players."

And Brown, in particular, is about as close as it gets to unstoppable in the NFL. Butler found that out in Week 1 of last year when he matched up with Brown in his first game as a starter, giving up nine catches for 133 yards to the All-Pro wideout. 

Though Sunday might not have been perfect for Butler, it was better than that day about 14 months ago. And at times, it was worth dancing about. 

SUNDAY NIGHT FOOTBALL: Seahawks, Cardinals miss OT FGs, tie 6-6


SUNDAY NIGHT FOOTBALL: Seahawks, Cardinals miss OT FGs, tie 6-6

GLENDALE, Ariz. (AP) Seattle's Stephen Hauschka and Arizona's Chandler Catanzaro missed short field goals that would have won the game in overtime and the Seahawks and Cardinals settled for a 6-6 tie Sunday night.

Hauschka's 27-yard field goal was wide left with seven seconds left after Catanzaro's 24-yarder bounced off the left upright.

The tie was the Cardinals' first since Dec. 7, 1986, a 10-10 draw at Philadelphia when the franchise was based in St. Louis. It was the first for the Seattle since entering the NFL in 1976.

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