Branch isn't sweating catchless preseason

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Branch isn't sweating catchless preseason

By Tom E. Curran
CSNNE.com 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 tcurran@comcastsportsnet.com. Follow Tom on Twitter at http:twitter.comtomecurran.

Jets lose, Patriots guaranteed 1st place in AFC East when Brady returns

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Jets lose, Patriots guaranteed 1st place in AFC East when Brady returns

When Tom Brady returns to the Patriots following his four-game suspension, his team will be in sole possession of first place in the AFC East.

That became the reality as soon as the Jets fell to the Chiefs in Kansas City on Sunday, 24-3. The Jets committed eight turnovers in the loss to fall to 1-2. 

The Bills and Dolphins each won their first games of the season on Sunday, taking down the Cardinals and Browns, respectively. 

With the Patriots record at 3-0 following their win over the Texans on Thursday night, and with all three of their AFC East rivals sitting on just one win thus far, even if Bill Belichick's club was to fall to Rex Ryan and the Bills in Week 4, it would still be alone atop the division.

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Surely the Patriots would like to have a zero in the loss column when Brady returns. Regardless, to be in first place when Brady's Deflategate punishment is finished -- and having achieved that mark with two different starting quarterbacks -- has to be a point of pride for the organization . . . and a source of agita for those who doled out the punishment.

Rex Ryan: 'If Belichick's playing quarterback, we're coming after him'

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Rex Ryan: 'If Belichick's playing quarterback, we're coming after him'

Must be Bills week. 

After Rex Ryan's club put together an impressive win at home over the Cardinals, 33-18, it wasn't long before the Bills coach was yapping about the Patriots and their coach Bill Belichick.

Ryan was asked about the quarterback situation in New England since both Jimmy Garoppolo and Jacoby Brissett are dealing with injuries at the moment. Who might the Bills see when they visit Gillette Stadium?

"Look, I can sit back and say I don’t care who plays quarterback, cuz I know (Tom) Brady ain’t," he said. "I don’t care who plays quarterback; Steve Grogan can play quarterback. If Belichick’s playing quarterback, we’re coming after him. I promise you that."

There's no indication yet as to whether or not Garoppolo or Brissett will be unavailable for Week 4. When asked about his level of concern when it came to his quarterbacks, Belichick didn't say much during a conference call on Sunday

Ryan, like the rest of us, will probably have to wait for the Patriots to release an injury report before he learns about the status of either young passer. And until then, he'll have to prepare for both.