Maybe it was the catch. Deion reaching cross-body to snag a pass against his momentum. Maybe, if you strip away recent health and production, it's just that Branch is among the most talented wide receivers to play in Seattle in some years. Maybe Pete Carroll, John Schneider and Jeremy Bates afforded him the fresh start he has so desperately needed. Mora worked under Holmgren and both may be forgiven for kinda of giving up on Deion. Most of us have.
Whatever it was, we are on the verge of the start of the regular season and despite 181 roster moves, the most obvious roster move was never made. Deion Branch is still a Seattle Seahawk. Branch not only survived the clear cutting, he stands among saplings, a veteran, a starter. This is his season, step up or be gone.
Mike Williams is Brandon Marshall. Branch is Eddie Royal. He lacks Royal's top end speed, but he is equal in agility and as a route runner. He may not, as Royal did not, survive the high volume of targets, but unlike Royal, Seattle has backups. Branch falters and Golden Tate or Deon Butler can fill his role.
Apart from being healthy and developing timing with Hasselbeck, Seattle needs Branch to create run after the catch on short passes and wide receiver screens. He must create separation on mid-range curls and outs, and navigate zones on option routes. Most of all, he must, through a combination of separation and hands, convert a high-percentage of targets into receptions. As long as Matt's in, Seattle will not have a prolific deep attack, and that means for drives to click, they can't waste snaps with dropped passes and deflections.
It's been a long go. One that's produced mixed feelings. Branch has been spectacular in spurts, never consistent, and often injured. The Seahawks need him this season and maybe this season, he can fulfill the potential he has often teased but never delivered on.