Fells: Patriots 'do things right'


Fells: Patriots 'do things right'

FOXBORO -- Daniel Fells' introductory press conference at Gillette Stadium almost happened earlier. Two years earlier.

"I was real close," he said Tuesday of the 2010 workout and near-signing. "Real close."

"I was able to come out here and just meet with the coaches and talk with the guys and see if it was a fit. It ultimately boiled down to a business thing. I let my agent handle things like that. All things happen for a reason and it didn't work out then, but things came full circle and it worked out for us this year."
New England marks the sixth team Fells has been with since 2006 -- defining him as a journeyman with each stop. Undrafted out of UC Davis, the tight end's average blocking and receiving skills have kept him afloat enough to provide roster depth at least.

Fells started 15 games last season in Denver -- a career best by far -- and caught 19 passes for 256 yards and three touchdowns. Despite the Broncos bringing in Peyton Manning, Fells found himself moving on. Again.

"You know what? It's one of those things you just take in stride. A lot of times people get discouraged by things like that, going to different teams.

"It's like the first day of school. You go to a different school and you're meeting new people with different personalities and you get a little anxious about it. But, like you said, I've done it so many times I just kind of take it in stride and I'm excited."

It was obvious Tuesday why Fells is enjoying Foxborough. He said the workouts are as brutal as you'd expect from a perennial Super Bowl contender; the attitude pervades every activity.

After stints in Atlanta, Oakland, Tampa Bay, St. Louis, and Denver, Fells knows he's landed with the real deal.

"They do things right," he said of the Patriots. "From an offensive standpoint, they go out there and put up points and find the open man. And it's not just about one player. You have two good tight ends. There's not a lot of teams that use both tight ends and get them all kinds of catches, there's always just one guy that usually stands out. You have a bunch of players that stand out on this offense."

But is there room for three pass-catching tight ends? Fells described himself as primarily a route runner and it's hard to see him getting many touches in that capacity. Maybe Aaron Hernandez will find himself split out as a receiver and working out of the backfield more. Maybe Fells will have to get better with blocking.

Either way, he believes head coach Bill Belichick will make it work.

Every week you turn the TV on and you're seeing something different from this team, just the things that they were doing -- it is revolutionary as you say. I know that Bill is the type of guy he finds different ways to keep defenses on their toes, or keep them on their heels. They don't really know what to expect and they don't really know what's going on. He's an innovator in that sense."

Having a signal caller like Tom Brady doesn't hurt.

When asked if Tim Tebow is an NFL quarterback, Fells said yes, Tebow can be if given time.

Brady, as we know, doesn't need seasoning.

"I'm excited about that one. That's pretty much the best way to say that. It's Tom Brady. One of the greatest guys out there. I'm really looking forward to the opportunity to be out there on the field with him."

Game notes: Patriots vs. Steelers


Game notes: Patriots vs. Steelers

A quick look at the information you need to know about today's Patriots-Steelers game:

TEAM RECORDS: Patriots 5-1, Steelers 4- 2

GAME TIME: 4:25 p.m. EST


TV ANNOUNCERS: Jim Nantz, Phil Simms and Tracy Wolfson


NATIONAL RADIO ANNOUNCERS: Larry Kahn, Mark Carrier and Troy West

LOCAL RADIO NETWORK: Anchored by WBZ-FM (98.5 The Sports Hub)

LOCAL RADIO ANNOUNCERS: Bob Socci and Scott Zolak


LAST MEETING: Patriots 28, Steelers 21 on Sept. 10, 2015 at Gillette Stadium

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-- The Patriots are 8-11 against the Steelers in Pittsburgh in their history, but are 4-2 at Heinz Field. Included in those four Heinz Field victories are two in AFC Championship Games (in the 2001 and 2004 seasons).

-- Tom Brady is 8-2 against the Steelers in his career.

-- The last time Brady played the Steelers, in 2015, he set a Patriots franchise record with 19 consecutive pass completions.

-- The Patriots are 108-70 (.607) in road games since 1994, the best record in the NFL over that span. The Steelers (97- 82, .542) are second.

-- The Patriots have yet to throw an interception in 2016, setting a team record for consecutive games without an interception at the start of a season (6). The NFL record for consecutive games at the start of a season without a pick is 9, set by the 1960 Browns. The Patriots' franchise record for overall consecutive games with no interceptions is 8, set in 2010.

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-- Rob Gronkowski has 67 overall touchdowns and needs one to tie Stanley Morgan (68) for the franchise record.

-- Gronkowski has 66 receiving touchdowns and needs one to tie Morgan (67) for the franchise record.

-- Gronkowski has 22 100-yard receiving games, including two in 2016, and is tied with Jackie Smith for the third-most among all NFL tight ends. The only TEs who have more are Kellen Winslow (24) and Tony Gonzalez (31).