Patriots

Belichick on Branch being left behind: 'This isn't about one player'

Bill Belichick went into specific detail Friday about why Alan Branch was left behind for Thursday’s win over the Bucs. No, he didn’t. Of course, he didn’t. 

Instead, Belichick essentially gave a lengthy song and dance explaining that you have the players who are unable to play in games because of injury, and then from there you choose which healthy players can play. You do it based on what gives you the best chance to win and blah blah blah. 

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Yet at the tail end of his answer, Belichick basically said what the move suggested: He thinks right now that the Pats are better without Branch than with him. 

“You take the players that you feel are best for that game, that you think will have the biggest impact, or give you the most depth that you feel like you need in that game,” Belichick said. “That’s what we do every week, but whatever players are inactive, you can put the same players in that same conversation.

“This isn’t about one player. It’s whichever players are inactive, whatever the reasons were — combination of reasons — we felt like the players we activated were the ones that gave us the best chance to win the game, which is ultimately what we’re trying to do.”

Branch signed a two-year deal to return to the Patriots in the offseason. He has failed to reach his level of play from last season, which has exacerbated struggles experienced by New England’s defense.