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Branch's make-or-break

Other than constant speculation one way or another from other parts of the country as to trade possibilities for Anquan Boldin (it's the story that isn't going away, although we knew that, right?) not a whole lot is going on. I mentioned last week there would be talks between the team and Karlos Dansby and apparently they went smoothly, although I don't think that means anything is imminent. That said, on a personal level I really feel something will get done, regardless of what Karlos might be intimating about free agency next year.

On to what I know as fact: Alan Branch's weight, and that he is lighter than in the past. Branch is an interesting case, because if his light does stay on permanently (using coach Ken Whisenhunt's analogy from last year's training camp), the Cards would get some serious benefit. No one has ever questioned his raw tools, it's putting them into practice. I asked Whiz about how much players could actually impress a coaching staff this time of year – basically from the beginning of offseason voluntary work until the end of OTAs.

"I have seen evidence as a player and as a coach as to how important this time is as far as setting the table to having a successful season," Whisenhunt said. "To me, the time put in now primes you to have a good camp, which carries over to having a good season. Obviously the classic example of that is Steve Breaston. It was a development in stages for Steve but it was all started with his commitment and attention to what he did in the offseason."

That said, it will take more than a good offseason for Branch. He is going to be under the microscope constantly. Breaston talked about the trust factor and after Branch's first two years, I don't know how he has much trust built up. "It's just about working hard, digging deep and bringing it out this year," Branch said of his potential. The Cards will be thrilled if he turn that tangible on the football field.

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