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Talk pro football with SI.com's Andrew Perloff in Huddle Up, a forum to discuss the hottest topics around the NFL.
8/28/2006 11:51:00 AM

Patriots' savvy receiver strategy

Deion Branch
Deion Branch, the 2005 Super Bowl MVP and the team's top receiver, is scheduled to earn $1.045 million this season.
Bob Rosato/SI

If you needed proof that the Patriots know what they're doing with Deion Branch, check out Saturday's preseason game. New England suited up receivers Reche Caldwell, Troy Brown and Bam Childress and the offense looked unstoppable. On the opposite side of the ball the Redskins' highly compensated free-agent receivers, Brandon Lloyd and Antwaan Randle El, couldn't do anything. It was only an exhibition game, but the Pats' 41-0 win didn't give Branch any leverage.

The best teams spend big money on quarterbacks and that's about it. Free-agent acquisitions at other skill positions get fans excited but don't generally improve teams. If a team's offensive line is in bad shape, Jerry Rice and Don Hutson could line up at receiver and wouldn't catch the ball.

If you look at every champion since 2000, none has had a big-impact receiver. Only two of the last six champs had a wideout with more than 1,000 yards receiving: Troy Brown (1,199 for the Pats in '01) and Keyshawn Johnson (1,088 for the Bucs in '02).

The Pats have had success with their cold-blooded approach to negotiating in the past. In recent years, they got rid of Lawyer Milloy and Ty Law just before those players' price tags eclipsed their productivity. The same could be said for Branch, who is very talented but would ultimately be forgotten if he left New England. Not to open up a can of worms, but the same theory applies to running backs: See James, Edgerrin in Arizona.

As always, let me know what you think.

posted by sidotcom | View comments | Add a comment  
8/28/2006 11:51:00 AM

Patriots' savvy receiver strategy

Deion Branch
Deion Branch, the 2005 Super Bowl MVP and the team's top receiver, is scheduled to earn $1.045 million this season.
Bob Rosato/SI

If you needed proof that the Patriots know what they're doing with Deion Branch, check out Saturday's preseason game. New England suited up receivers Reche Caldwell, Troy Brown and Bam Childress and the offense looked unstoppable. On the opposite side of the ball the Redskins' highly compensated free-agent receivers, Brandon Lloyd and Antwaan Randle El, couldn't do anything. It was only an exhibition game, but the Pats' 41-0 win didn't give Branch any leverage.

The best teams spend big money on quarterbacks and that's about it. Free-agent acquisitions at other skill positions get fans excited but don't generally improve teams. If a team's offensive line is in bad shape, Jerry Rice and Don Hutson could line up at receiver and wouldn't catch the ball.

If you look at every champion since 2000, none has had a big-impact receiver. Only two of the last six champs had a wideout with more than 1,000 yards receiving: Troy Brown (1,199 for the Pats in '01) and Keyshawn Johnson (1,088 for the Bucs in '02).

The Pats have had success with their cold-blooded approach to negotiating in the past. In recent years, they got rid of Lawyer Milloy and Ty Law just before those players' price tags eclipsed their productivity. The same could be said for Branch, who is very talented but would ultimately be forgotten if he left New England. Not to open up a can of worms, but the same theory applies to running backs: See James, Edgerrin in Arizona.

As always, let me know what you think.

posted by sidotcom | View comments | Add a comment  
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