When Deion Branch sounds off on someone taking a shot at the Patriot Way, people listen. If you need a refresher course on just who Branch is, he’s one of the most important, well-liked Patriots to ever wear the flying Elvis. Branch was with the team for 6 1/2 years (left for a few seasons and then returned) tallying over 5,000 yards on 384 receptions with 29 TD’s. Oh, and he nabbed two Super Bowl rings and was named the MVP of Super Bowl 39. It’s also easy to say that Branch was a vital cog in the machine that turned out the greatest quarterback to ever play the sport. And he had the perfect response to Cassius Marsh’s harsh accusation of his former organization.
Talking with NBC Sports Boston earlier this week, Branch had this to say:
“New England isn’t for every player. New England is not the place you want to go and think you’re just gonna play first and you do your work later. No, it’s you work first and then we play. As far as playing the game in New England, I do not agree with him on that. I never had a situation where I felt myself or any of my former teammates felt like they were mistreated.”
I wrote about Marsh’s comments earlier this week, so we don’t need to dive back into that rubbish. But when you make the accusation that an organization treats it’s plater poorly, that perks up some ears. And it’s nice to see such a valued Patriot like Branch come out and vehemently disagree with Marsh.
What Branch said is very true. It’s what I, as well as most Patriots fans, have been saying for a long time. If you don’t like hard work, don’t come to New England. It’s no secret that the organization works relentlessly to put the best product on the field week in and week out. For someone like Marsh to come in and expect things like extended lunch periods is ollogical. You knew what this was when you stepped through those doors.
Bill Belichick’s way of coaching is certainly not the only way to do it, but it may very well be the most effective. There isn’t a coach in the league today that can match his last 20 years of success. But that consistent winning doesn’t come easy. So it’s not necessarily a knock on the guys that just can’t or don’t want to play by his rules. Players like Reggie Wayne, Deltha O’Neal and Joey Galloway all signed with the team but couldn’t hack it in this system. No one looks at those players any worse because of it though. Everyone understands the simple truth that Branch said: New England is not for everyone.
If Marsh would’ve just faded back into irrelevancy, no one wouldn’t batted an eye. But when he consistently bashes the team every chance he gets, he’s bound to receive some push back. His criticism very clearly reveals itself as just sour grapes. It turns from someone who may have an actual gripe, to just words from a scorned player who didn’t think he got what he “deserved”. I put that word in quotes because when you have the overwhelmingly average resume Marsh does, you don’t “deserve” anything.
Branch wasn’t the only one to speak out though. Former Patriots linebacker Matt Chatham spoke up on Twitter as well:
You eat *during* the meetings…and ya eat *very* well. Tremendous spread. Ya eat like a king. Get a to-go container, sheesh. Who doesn’t eat during the meetings? This is the weirdest complaint I’ve ever heard about New England smh
— Matt Chatham (@chatham58) July 13, 2021
"I would give an arm to be back there and have those three meals made for you each day."
Matt Chatham defends the food at the Patriots practice facility after Cassius Marsh continues to speak negatively about his time in New England.@chatham58 | @CealeyGodwin | #Patriots pic.twitter.com/tUlV1NAydF
— After Hours (@NESNAfterHours) July 15, 2021
Perhaps Marsh was too blinded by his anger to see the ‘tremendous spread’ of food Chatham is talking about. Who knows. Sounds like he missed out on a good spread though while he was still fuming about the fact he didn’t have time to fill his lunch tray in the cafeteria.
As I said before, this isn’t the first time a former Patriot has had absurd criticisms of the team and it surely won’t be the last. It will always be laughable to those who understand what’s necessary to play in Foxboro though. So if the Patriots haters still want to say that Belichick runs a Alcatraz-like program, maybe listen to the people who have been in the building for longer than a cup of coffee. Last time I checked, wining is fun. And by that measurement, the Pats have had more fun than any other team in recent memory.
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