Deion Branch a go-to guy? Where have we heard that before?

Published on June 27, 2010 by     

Asking questions is part of a reporter’s job, but only part.

Another part is reporting the answers from people in positions of significance on the team/business entity/nation-state that the reporter is covering.

Which brings us to the question asked of Seattle Seahawks coach Pete Carroll on Tuesday.

Would you like to have someone established as a No. 1 receiver?

It was the big thing missing last season. T.J. Houshmandzadeh led Seattle with 79 catches, and Nate Burleson averaged a team-high 12.9 yards per catch. But Seattle did not have that true No. 1 receiver. A guy that got a defense on its heels.

Carroll has said he likes to have a diversity of threats out of the backfield running the ball. Would he prefer to have an established No. 1 receiver, though?

His answer: “It would be really nice if we had that and knew that,” Carroll said. “We don’t have that luxury yet. From what we’ve seen from Deion, he’s such a natural player and he gets it, and things just come so easily to him. I’ll be really surprised if he’s not able to really fit into a lot of things that we like to do.”

Hmmm, that sounds familiar enough to make more than one set of eyes roll because this has been an offseason refrain now in its fourth year.

In 2007, the question was whether Branch would become that No. 1 receiver after he had a full offseason and training camp to develop a rapport with quarterback Matt Hasselbeck.

In 2008, he was recovering from surgery to repair a serious knee injury suffered in the playoff loss at Green Bay.

In 2009, it was what he could be like if he could finally get healthy after two injury-riddled seasons.

It seems that there’s a certain amount of cynicism that’s reasonable given any insinuation Branch could finally establish himself as a go-to guy five years into a contract that Seattle not only paid him, but gave up a first-round pick for the privilege of doing so.

Now, Branch has been hurt. These aren’t insignificant injuries. A foot problem, a badly injured knee that has required three surgeries in just over two years.

And he’s just now coming back from the third procedure, and Carroll admits that Branch simply hasn’t had the time on the field to work with Hasselbeck in this new offense.

“We haven’t had the chance to really develop that yet, but that’s something that is important,” Carroll said. “Particularly for all the critical downs, you’ve got to get the throw-and-catches done to get the first downs and third down in particular. We have to develop relationships.

“In that regard, I feel like we’re a little behind. We’re unable to know at this time where is the real mix with the QB and the receivers.”

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