The Indianapolis Colts are taking a page out of the New England Patriots’ dirty bag of tricks, signing former Patriots receiver Deion Branch just in time for Saturday’s AFC Divisional Round matchup in New England.
The Colts added the 34-year-old Branch, who played seven seasons with the Patriots, due to injuries to the WR corps. However, the question had been raised whether or not Branch will be used for his inside info on New England and QB Tom Brady rather than his aging skill set.
“We figured the questions were going to come up that we were signing this guy who spent some time in New England," Colts head coach Chunk Pagano told reporters. "Is it just a coincidence or do you need the guy to help you win a football game and help your team? Every decision we make is based on what's best for this team and what gives us the best chance to win, and we think we have one heck of a football player."
Before the Patriots get their panties in a bunch over the Branch signing, they should look in the mirror – or back to January 2012 when New England signed former Denver Broncos head coach Josh McDaniels as an offensive assistant just before taking on the Broncos in the AFC Divisional Round. The Patriots rolled Denver 45-10 as a 14-point home favorite.
Not all “inside man” signings work out though. The Baltimore Ravens brought in two of Peyton Manning’s most popular targets this season, TE Dallas Clark and WR Brandon Stokley, but their familiarity with Manning didn’t make a difference in Broncos’ 49-27 trouncing of the Ravens as 7.5-point chalk in Week 1 of the season.
The Colts are 7.5-point underdogs in New England Saturday. The total is set at 53 points.