The New England Patriots brought back wide receiver Deion Branch for the third time this season, although it was not simply due to the fact that they team had to place Julian Edelman and Donte Stallworth on season ending IR over the past few weeks. They had another reason for bringing in the athletic Branch.
Growing up, Branch ran the option a little bit as a mobile quarterback. The Patriots host the San Francisco 49ers on Sunday night. Colin Kaepernick will be under center for the 49ers, and he is definitely a mobile quarterback who is fully capable of running the option for a handful of plays.
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New England did sign Branch to help them with their sudden depth issues at wide receiver, but that was not the only purpose. Branch has mimicked the role of an option quarterback throughout this past week in practice, giving the Patriots a taste of what they may be in store for Sunday night.
“I did a little bit in high school, but I only went in when the game was out of control,” Branch told NFL.com’s Albert Breer. “I was really a DB and receiver, so once we had the games wrapped up — which was a lot of them — I went to quarterback. So I played it a lot. And I played it all through Pop Warner, that’s all I played, was quarterback.”
Of course, preparing for a quarterback who has played quarterback his entire career and has successfully run the option throughout is a bit different than doing so against a wide receiver who only took snaps in blowout wins or losses back in high school.