Late For Work 10/12: Patriots Replace Moss Via Branch Trade

Plus examining Stallworth’s role upon his return and why the Ravens switched at KR.

Posted by Sarah Ellison on Tuesday, October 12th, 2010 at 8:50 am | Categories: Late For Work, Sarah Ellison

Patriots Replace Moss Via Branch Trade

The New England Patriots have found their replacement for Randy Moss with one of Tom Brady’s all-time favorite receivers, Deion Branch.

ESPN’s Adam Schefter reported the Patriots sent a fourth-round draft pick to the Seattle Seahawks to seal the deal.

Playing together from 2002 to 2005, Branch and Brady won two Super Bowls together. Branch even received a Super Bowl MVP award while catching balls from Brady.

Now, the duo has less than a week to rekindle their chemistry before they face the Ravens’ second-ranked pass defense.

That may not be too difficult. Branch never panned out as the No. 1 receiver in Seattle, but he is the “perfect fit” in New England.

“Branch is one of the few players that uniquely fits the Patriots’ needs at this time,” wrote ESPN Boston’s Mike Reiss. “He knows the team’s system and can play all the receiver spots, so the learning curve won’t be steep. That’s a key consideration for the Patriots given their complex offensive system, especially when making a trade during the season.”

Reiss expects Branch to be active on Sunday’s 45-man gameday roster, which could mark a shift in the Patriots’ offense. Instead of a vertical threat from Moss, the Ravens may watch out for a passing attack that spreads the ball around on short and intermediate routes.

“Branch has more wear on his tires at this point of his career, but he should still be productive in that type of set-up,” Reiss concluded.

What Will Be Stallworth’s Role When He Returns?

Donte’ Stallworth is still a few weeks away from returning to game action, but fans are already wondering what the offense will look like when he is added back into the mix.

We still haven’t seen what the passing game looks like with all four of the Ravens’ top receivers because T.J. Houshmandzadeh was signed after Stallworth broke his foot.

A fan, Brian, asked The Baltimore Sun’s Ken Murray about this very topic in a weekly Q&A.

“That’s going to be interesting, Brian, because once he’s on the field, somebody good is coming off,” Murray wrote. “Donte’ is going to stretch the field and that will help everyone out, especially on the intermediate routes. If Stallworth can stay healthy — and that’s been a big if his whole career — he adds a lot. But will there be more complaining because somebody isn’t getting their allotment of 50-60 passes?”

Murray’s co-worker Jamison Hensley believes Stallworth will have a bigger impact as a punt returner than as a receiver.

Why Ravens Replaced Parmele on Kickoff Returns

With Jalen Parmele averaging 23 yards on 12 kickoff returns, Head Coach John Harbaugh told reporters he wanted to jump-start the return game. Bringing in Josh Wilson was a move designed to do that, but he averaged three yards less per return (3 total) than Parmele.

“It was just kind of an idea to get a spark and try something,” Harbaugh said. “Josh has looked good in practice. He’s getting a feel for the schemes. I think a lot of times, it’s less about the returner on the kickoff return than it is about the blocking because you’ve got to create some space and get a guy going. I think both of those guys have done a good job, and we’re just looking for a big play.”

Harbaugh did not commit to Wilson being the kick returner moving forward, but did say that Wilson’s hamstring injury isn’t major.

Dilfer: Ravens Most Complete Team In NFL

ESPN’s Trent Dilfer thinks it’s futile to debate who the best team in football is, but does believe the Ravens are the most complete team in the NFL, with the Pittsburgh Steelers and New York Jets close behind.

Quick Hits

Tags: , , , , , ,