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New England Patriots Links 10/13/10 - Branch: 'I'm Not Here To Replace Randy Moss'

Deion Branch speaks to the media following his first practice back with the Patriots.

First of all I'd like to thank God for one, for blessing me with the opportunity to come back and be a part of a great organization, and also be a part of another great organization back in Seattle. Unfortunately things didn't work out, but that's part of the business, and I'm very thankful to be back.

Are you going to be ready for Sunday?

Yeah, I hope so. I hope I'm showing Coach Belichick enough today. I know there's going to be a little bit more tomorrow and Thursday and Friday. He makes that decision.

How are you a different player than you were four years ago?

A lot more knowledge. I understand the game of football. I truly understand the game and how to study people, how to study guys, my opponent. I think my first four years here I was just playing off all athleticism, and I was getting away with it for a little bit. There were a couple games here and there back in the past. I think now I know how to sit down and break down the film and watch my opponent.

(On his role with the team...)

I'm going to try my best. I'm just a piece of the puzzle. I'm not the answer to anything, I'm just a piece of the puzzle. I think these guys have already been stitched and stoned with the things they're doing. Coach Belichick has been running the ship the same way: straightforward. You get in, do your job, and that's that. That's what I'm going to do.

Mike Reiss offers his thoughts on the Deion Branch trade.

I think there are a few reasons why Branch is the right choice for the Patriots. First, it would be risky to go with the current group at receiver for the rest of the season, because in the event of injury the offense could be handcuffed. Given the recent injury history of Brandon Tate and Julian Edelman, I think it's smart business to add another layer of depth. As for Branch, I think what we're seeing is a return to the way the Patriots used to play offense and with that, Branch had greater value to the Patriots -- especially during an in-season trade -- than perhaps any team in the NFL. The fact that Branch can step in and play immediately is huge. There is no benefit of an offseason to get acclimated. I think that is another huge part in analyzing this trade and why simply acquiring any receiver just isn't as realistic. I thought we saw that show up a bit Monday night with the Vikings and Moss, as Moss couldn't be part of the two-minute package because he wasn't fully up to speed in Minnesota's system.