Analysis on Talib, Branch moves

A few quick-hit thoughts on the Patriots' roster moves Saturday -- activating cornerback Aqib Talib to the 53-man roster, promoting receiver Greg Salas from the practice squad, and waiving receiver Deion Branch (hamstring) and defensive back Malcolm Williams (thigh):

1. No surprise on Talib. On Friday, defensive backs Kyle Arrington and Steve Gregory touched on how quickly Talib had picked up the team's defense. Talib has also impressed with his instincts in practice. The question was never whether Talib would be activated for the game; it's more how much he will play. The early indication is that we can expect to see Talib quite a bit Sunday vs. the Colts.

2. Branch's hamstring forces move. Branch was coming off arguably his best game of the season but he showed up on the injury report Thursday. Another team can claim him -- others had the chance to sign him at the start of the year when he was cut before the season opener (he was re-signed by the Patriots after Week 2) -- but his health makes that a tricky situation. With Branch, Brandon Lloyd (knee) and Wes Welker (ankle) also on the injury report, more depth at receiver was needed. As long as Branch isn't claimed by another team, which seems unlikely, he would seemingly be primed to return to the team in future weeks.

3. Time to see what Salas can do. The Patriots obviously liked second-year receiver Greg Salas and his potential, or they wouldn't have traded a seventh-round draft choice to acquire him from the Rams. Yet they ran into a numbers crunch early in the year and waived him, then were pleased to bring him back on the practice squad and ultimately increase his salary to a level as if he were on the active roster. One local reporter predicted that Salas could total 61 receptions this season, and for those doing the math, Salas will need to average 8.7 catches per game (insert joke on the short reporter from ESPNBoston.com here).

4. Williams has a return ticket to practice squad. Second-year player Malcolm Williams still has practice squad eligibility and the Patriots have two open spots after promoting Salas and releasing receiver Jarred Fayson on Saturday.