New England Patriots head coach said a few words about veteran tight ends Daniel Fells and Visanthe Shiancoe, and this is of special importance since Shiancoe can return to the team next week after practicing this week. Fells, meanwhile, has done a solid job as the Patriots No. 3 TE and is one of the better blocking tight ends in the NFL. I think he’s been an unheralded, solid piece for the Pats this season, but he could become expendable. I view Fells as a better player than Shiancoe due to his terrific blocking ability, but Shiancoe is also the better pass-catcher (Fells is still decent in this regard).
Bill Belichick said when asked if Schiancoe is more of a dual-threat TE (receiving and blocking) or only effective when utilized in one area, “I think when you look back at his career, he’s done both. But I don’t know. We’ve had him, but for no games, so we’ll see how it goes in our offense – if we’re able to get to that point, I don’t know.”
It is difficult to tell how the Patriots should utilize Shiancoe, and it depends on if they want to keep Fells or use Rob Gronkowski as a blocker more often. Shiancoe is a better receiver than blocker, but I would also rather have Gronk continue to receive targets as well even if he is (by far) the best blocking TE in the NFL.
Here’s what Belichick said about Daniel Fells, “He’s an experienced guy, a smart player. He understands all the different tight end positions and roles. He has good size, he can catch well. I think he can also play in the running game, play in the passing game, and has good experience.”
Agree on all points, and I love Fells as a blocker. However, I can’t help but feel that he is going to be gone soon with Shiancoe likely getting the call up very soon. Jake Ballard is also one for the future on the PUP list, and it seems like the Patriots will have to sacrifice a good TE.
You can follow Joe Soriano on Twitter @SorianoJoe.