One of the biggest stories in Patriot nation over roughly the past 48 hours or so — besides the Brandon Spikes‘ injury of course — was the signing of former Patriots WR Deion Branch by the Indianapolis Colts. Immediately after the move was announced, New England Patriots‘ fans and analysts saw it as a move to get into the team’s head or to disrespect them.
It is my belief that the Colts addressed a legitimate need by making the move and did not try to stick it to the Patriots. It was probably on their mind that if a wide receiver were to go down the guy they would turn to would be Branch, regardless of if they were playing against the Patriots or not this week. Unfortunately for Indy, Darrius Heyward-Bey got hurt and as a result he will miss Saturday’s game and they needed to invest in other options.
Apparently, Branch lives near Lucas Oil Stadium residing in Carmel, Indiana and was previously put through a workout by the team before they even knew they were playing the Pats according to TheStarpress.com. The Colts likely turned to him due to all the above factors and the fact that he has ample experience at the NFL level which will benefit both parties. It gives the Colts a reliable receiver to pair with TY Hilton for Andrew Luck to lean on. For Branch, it gives him another chance at a job in the league and on top of that an opportunity to play in the postseason and win another ring.
The Patriots should not be offended by this move since they let Branch go willingly, showing no interest in him all season long. Additionally, he was probably the best free agent receiver for the Colts to pick up. If not him, the Colts could have just as easily called upon Brandon Lloyd, who also had a stint with the Patriots last year.
The Pats, their fans and the media will see the signing as a way to for the Colts to get into New England’s head, but to me this signing was made entirely for football reasons, not as some kind of tactical espionage on the part of the Colts. After all, in this day and age the way game tape is studied you can learn a lot about a team’s tendencies by simply turning on a television or computer.