I realize there are already several threads on the Deion Branch situation, but I'd like to look at it from a slightly different angle which hasn't been talked about, to my knowledge. And that is this: Chad Jackson could be the key to resolving the Deion Branch situation. Before you jump down my throat, let me hasten to add that yes, I know he's just a rookie and yes, I know that rookie WR's don't usually produce a lot in their first year. HOWEVER ... Chad Jackson is extremely talented. We have seen him win the "hands" competition and we have heard how well he did in minicamps. Now imagine he had come to training camp healthy and remained healthy. Imagine he had turned heads during practices and had played against Atlanta with the first team, catching 7 or 8 balls for 90 yards. This is not beyond the realm of possibility: Terry Glenn had 90 catches for over 1100 yards as a rookie for the Patriots in 1996. How different would things look now? How different would the mood of the team, the media, and the staff be now? We'd have a much more optimistic situation. You'd believe that Caldwell, Jackson, and Troy between them could do a very decent job of holding down the fort until the cavelry arrives. You'd be hearing the players say things like, "Obviously we want to Deion to be here - obviously he's our #1 receiver, but we have a lot of other talented players here, and until Deion gets here we'll be OK with the guys we have." Imagine now if you will, the effect this would be having on Deion. Right now, Jackson's absense is fortifying his position, and fortifying his belief that the team cannot get along without him and will cave. He may be hoping they will lose 2 or 3 of their first 3 or 4 games and will panic and give him the deal he wants. He may at least be waiting to see if that happens. And without Jackson stepping up, there is certainly a better chance that will happen. But suppose Jackson comes back next week and starts to look as talented as Maroney. Supposing he contributes an acrobatic catch and/or a long run next week against Arizona. Now Branch has to start worrying. He has to start thinking, "Yikes, this kid is really good, maybe they can get along without me!" If I continue to sit out, I'll not only look like a jerk, I'll not only lose my salary to fines, but I may even lose my starting job!" That's why I think Jackson, potentially, could be the key to resolving the Branch situation sooner rather than later. Of course this is highly speculative, but we know Chad is highly talented. What we don't know is how hurt he is and how long it will take him to figure out how to play against NFL caliber competition. But if it is sooner rather than later, Branch may come to his senses, or knees, sooner rather than later as well. And even if he doesn't, we'll be a lot better off at wide receiver.