So much talk about Branch and WRs around here,I am going give WR opinion on the Wr position in general. Wrs in the NFL are jdged by production, but the reality is their production has much more to do with the situation they are in than their specific ability. In 1994 Michael Timpson, Vincent Brisby, and Ray Crittenden put up good numbers in the Patriot offense. I didnt look it up, but I believe each one of them caught fewer passes in the conbined rest of their careers than they did in their last year playing a big role here. (I believe they also had decent 1995s) More than any other position on the field, you see wide, wide differences in individual WRs production year to year, with different coaches, teams, systems, or even on the same team in the same system. Troy Brown was not a productive WR up unitl the day he became a starter and then was roughly a 100 catch guy for 3 years. Pas offenses in the NFL today are about designing a play that will get a receiver to an open spot against a certain coverage. Capable receivers get open and get the ball when they are put on the field, because offenses are designed to run combination passes that run a receiver into the spot in the coverage that is weak. Recevier Bs route is set up by receivers As route. Good pass offenses are 90% about the QB and 10% about the WRs. Their success is either enhanced or hampered by the system that designs plays appropriately to coverage, and the QB that reads the coverage properly. There are many qualities that are important in a WR. Speed and quickness of course are important, but the reality is that the gap among NFL WRs is so small in these areas that it is neglible. The ability to understand coverage and run the route properly is probably the most important factor. The ability to catch the ball is just as critical, but again, there are very few NFL WRs who just cant catch. One very important factor is the WRs ability to judge and adjust to the deep ball, by the way, as many are not real god in this area. Flat out speed helps, but it is almost non-existant that a WR is ione on one with a corner and both run as fast as they can for a bomb. The ability to run after the catch is more important than speed or quickness, altouhgh speed and quickness are factors in that, but they are far from the only factors. You could take 50% of the WRs in the NFL, maybe more, put them in a system that is well designed with a good QB that throws a lot, and they will put up large numbers. The fact that WRs are judged by statistics is one of the biggest anomolies in football. Numbers from a WR are influenced by: -How much the team throws -whether its running game is a factor -The design of the plays and system -Whether the QB favors one more than others, or spreads the ball around. Perfect example is Bledsoe vs Brady. Bledsoe has always held the ball giving his #1 opportunity longer to come open, while Brady delievers the ball when a receiver is open. As the progressions go, in essense: "Open" to Bledsoe is more aggressive with the primary target than it is to Brady, then less aggressive with the secondary targets. That is Bledsoe will throw to a 'less open' primary target than Brady would, but pass up the secondary options unless they are wide open, and go back to the primary target. -The ability of the QB -Whether they are on the field or not -Whether the play calling makes them a first, second, third, etc option, also influenced by the TEs, RBs, QBs arm strength, etc -Whether the team consistently plays from ahead or behind -The quality of the OL giving you more time to get open. It is almost never seen that a good QB ends up with bad WRs no matter who is put in there. Replace WRs when you have a good QB, the new suddenly appear to also be good ones. It is very common to have 'good' WRs be unproductive with bad QBs. Good QBs produce in the passing game when their WRs are injured. Good Wrs lose production when their QB is injured. It is very ironic to me that since the 80s and the change in NFL passing games that eminated with Bill Walsh, the game has changed to make it easy for WRs to put up #s, to design plays and systems that GET THEM OPEN, and any WR who just runs his routes catches a ton of passes, that WRs are now being considered the 'talent' in the league and vital to success. Guys, if there is one position on the football field where the other 10 players are used to set you up to succeed, its WR. I have absolutely no doubt that a good QB with average WRs will be substantially more productive than an average QB with outstanding WRs. Of course then the 'average WRs' would be considered good. (Like Branch and Givens). By the way, where Branch is concerned, IMO, his best strengths (hands, quickness getting in and out of the route, and ability to run after the catch) are the ones that are most important in our system. Branch will ADD TO what Brady can do, but not having Branch will not come close to crippling Bradys passing game. Someone else will run the route (the other 10 players jobs will assist him in getting open) and catch the pass that Brady will deliever on time and accurately.