FOXBORO, Mass. — Bill Belichick isn’t losing any sleep over the Indianapolis Colts signing wide receiver Deion Branch.
The New England Patriots head coach said Wednesday that the information a team can get from signing a former player of an upcoming opponent is overvalued. Branch played with the Patriots from 2002 to 2005 and again from 2010 to 2012.
“I think that’s way overrated,” Belichick said. “And a lot of times the information in those situations is sometimes misinformation because things have changed from whenever that person was — and I’m not saying that in any particular circumstance, I’m just saying it in general. A lot of times a player that has been with a team tells you this is what they do, this is their call, this is this, this is that, and then it turns out that’s not really what it is.”
Belichick has been known to sign former players of upcoming opponents. Just this season, he signed linebacker Chris White, who had previously been with the Buffalo Bills, before the Patriots’ Week 1 matchup with the Bills; tight end Matthew Mulligan, who was with the New York Jets for three seasons, before New England’s Week 2 game against the Jets; and defensive tackle Chris Jones, who had just been waived by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, before the Patriots’ Week 3 matchup with the Buccaneers. All three players spent the rest of the season with New England, so it’s entirely possible all three signings were just a coincidence.
“Honestly, I think we have enough trouble doing all the things that we do and getting them right, getting everybody to do them well,” Belichick said. “And I’m sure they have the same thing with the amount of volume that you have in your different systems and the amount of volume that you face on the other side of the ball. You have to be able to not only know everything that you’re doing then also figure out everything that they’re doing.”
Branch spent seven seasons with quarterback Tom Brady, so it’s possible the wideout could at least provide insight into what the signal-caller’s tendencies are. Colts head coach Chuck Pagano said the decision to sign Branch had nothing to do with his former team.
“We’ll do whatever we think is best,” Belichick said when asked whether the Patriots would change anything in their offense now that Branch has latched on with Indianapolis.
Brady had praise for Branch and said Tuesday that he was excited to see his friend on Saturday night.