Former Falcons OC Kyle Shanahan regrets one play call from Super Bowl LI. (Mark J. Rebilas/USA Today Sports)

Former Falcons OC Kyle Shanahan regrets one play call from Super Bowl LI. (Mark J. Rebilas/USA Today Sports)

The Falcons had Super Bowl LI in their hands when they were up 28-20 late in the fourth quarter and had the ball in Patriots’ territory.

It was first-and-10 from the Patriots’ 22-yard line, but following a sack and a holding penalty the Falcons were out of field goal range leading to a punt.

New England then got the ball back and Tom Brady led the offense down the field for a touchdown and the two-point conversion to force overtime where the Patriots eventually won the game, 34-28.

Immediately after the game, Falcons offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan said he didn’t regret any of his play calls down the stretch, as the Falcons could have just ran the ball three times and kicked a field goal to win the game, but now a few months later, the now 49ers head coach admitted he would like to have a play call back.

“The second-and-10 that we got sacked on,” Shanahan said on The Rich Eisen Show last week. “I wish I had dialed up something differently. And then the next play, we called an option to [Mohamed] Sanu, we got right back in field goal range, but we had a holding call on the play and it knocked us out some more, and an incompletion on the next one.”

The second-and-10 play was a 12-yard sack by Trey Flowers.

“I go through every single play in the game, but when it comes down to it, the big one was the sack that we had on second-and-10,” Shanahan said.

The Falcons and Patriots will meet again this season in New England, but Shanahan will not be part of it as he is now coaching in San Francisco.

Blog Author: 
Ryan Hannable
Tom Brady will likely need to address Gisele's concussion comments at some point. (Troy Taormina/USA Today Sports)

Tom Brady will likely need to address Gisele’s concussion comments at some point. (Troy Taormina/USA Today Sports)

1. The biggest football story of the week was Tom Brady’s wife, Gisele Bundchen, going on CBS This Morning and saying Brady has had concussions over the course of his career, including last year. This wouldn’t seem like a big deal given Brady has played 17 years in the NFL, but the issue is Brady hasn’t missed any games besides when he tore his ACL and he’s never been listed on the injury report with a concussion. The NFL responded by saying it has no record of any such thing and later in the week his agent Don Yee released a carefully worded statement saying Brady “was not diagnosed” with a concussion last year. He didn’t say Brady didn’t have one, he said Brady wasn’t diagnosed with one. A big difference. Whether he wants to or not, at some point Brady is going to have to address what Gisele said. Concussions are one of the biggest topics of discussion in the NFL and when the biggest star in the game is in the middle of it, he’s going to need to address it. With all the measures put in place for player safety when it comes to concussions (now having concussion spotters and specialists on the sidelines), it appears, at least according to Gisele, Brady has slipped through the cracks. It’s important to note the Patriots didn’t break any rules by not reporting anything because it’s likely a case of Brady not telling anyone. In 2015, Brady was asked on WEEI’s Dennis & Callahan if he’s ever had a concussion. “I’d really not like to get into that,” he responded. But then, last year he said concussions are a “very important topic.” “I think there’s been more awareness from the general media on what CTE is, how it affects you, the long term ramifications of it,” Brady said, via ABC News. “I think, as an athlete, you have to take all those things into consideration and try to be as proactive as you can. Gain information, then go through the proper protocols if you do get a concussion.” With how much damage chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE) can have, Brady contracting himself by saying what an important topic concussions are, and then seemingly ignoring his own will likely need to be explained.

2. This is a big week for the Patriots and their offseason program as OTAs are set to begin. They will be held Monday, Tuesday and Thursday, with Thursday’s session being open to the media. Contact isn’t allowed, but 7-on-7 and 11-on-11 drills are allowed. This will give the media its first chance to see what the 2017 team looks like. The running back position will be an area to keep an eye on to try and get some glimpse as to how the carries and playing time will be split. It will also be worth keeping an eye on Malcolm Butler and how he interacts with his teammates, especially Stephon Gilmore following the Patriots signing him to a megadeal this offseason. Cyrus Jones is also a player to watch to see if he is showing signs of bouncing back after a tough rookie season. As always, the quarterback position is worth watching, especially Jimmy Garoppolo and Jacoby Brissett to see how big of strides both players have made from last season. It is worth keeping in mind any observations should be taken with a grain of salt considering it’s just OTAs and contact isn’t permitted, but this is the only thing there is to go on before training camp in late July.

3. LeGarrette Blount officially will not be on the Patriots next season, as the 30-year-old running back signed a deal with the Eagles this week. His career in New England deserves to be recognized. Many believe any running back can succeed in Bill Belichick’s system with Brady at quarterback, but Blount did things no one else could do. How many backs can carry four or five guys on their backs for 10 extra yards? How many backs have the ability to wear defenses down and run over defensive backs in the second half of games? Blount was also one of the happiest players in the locker room, always having a smile on his face and laughing with teammates. The connection was shown this week when many of his former teammates reached out to him on social media congratulating him on his new deal. Blount had a very underrated career in New England playing a large role in winning two Super Bowls.

4. One of the big picture questions raised this week is who will lead the Patriots offense in receptions? Obviously, Julian Edelman is the heavy favorite, but don’t sleep on Brandin Cooks. If Edelman plays a full 16 games, he’s almost a lock to get around 100 receptions, as he had 98 last year and 105 in 2013. On the other hand, Cooks’ career-high is 84 (2015). Cooks could take away some of Edelman’s targets, but the Brady-Edelman connection is unmatched, so if Edelman plays the entire season look for Edelman to still be Brady’s favorite target.

5. Even though the Celtics are on a deep run in the playoffs, the Patriots have sometimes stolen the show at home games, which shows just how popular the Patriots are. A number of Patriots have attended playoff games including Belichick, Robert Kraft, Edelman, Rob Gronkowski, James White, Cooks, Gilmore, Butler, Garoppolo, Cameron Fleming and more. Nothing gets any Boston sporting venue louder than showing Belichick on a big screen.

6. One of the most competitive position battles this summer will be the third tight end spot. The competition got a little clearer this week when the Patriots released Michael Williams and Rob Housler. Behind Gronkowski and Dwayne Allen, the Patriots have Matt Lengel, Sam Cotton, Jacob Hollister and James O’Shaughnessy. It would seem at this point Lengel has the advantage given his experience in the system last season, but also don’t be surprised if the Patriots add another veteran tight end before training camp.

7. Former Patriots defensive tackle Vince Wilfork is still unsure about his plans for 2017. “What retirement is, I want to make sure I’m 100 percent committed to whatever I’m going to do,” Wilfork said on ESPN Radio’s Russillo Show last week. “I’m not saying that I’m going to retire, and I’m not going to say that I’m retired.” The Texans seem to believe Wilfork has called it a career, but the 35-year-old is a free agent. From this viewpoint, Wilfork will indeed retire, and what a terrific career it was — both on and off the field.

Blog Author: 
Ryan Hannable

The Patriots have a busy week next week with OTAs kicking off, but Bill Belichick seemed to enjoy himself on Saturday by taking in the Preakness Stakes with girlfriend Linda Holliday.

Holliday posted a picture of the two to Instagram with the caption: Awesome day at the Preakness!

The Patriots have a busy week next week with OTAs kicking off, but Bill Belichick seemed to enjoy himself on Saturday by taking in the Preakness Stakes with girlfriend Linda Holliday.

Holliday posted a picture of the two to Instagram with the caption: Awesome day at the Preakness!

Here is the picture.

Blog Author: 
Ryan Hannable

Appearing on CBS This Morning earlier this week, Tom Brady’s wife, Gisele Bundchen said her husband has sustained multiple concussions

Tom Brady's agent Don Yee said his client was not diagnosed with a concussion last year. (Steve Mitchell/USA Today Sports)

Tom Brady’s agent Don Yee said his client was not diagnosed with a concussion last year. (Steve Mitchell/USA Today Sports)

Appearing on CBS This Morning earlier this week, Tom Brady’s wife, Gisele Bundchen said her husband has sustained multiple concussions over the course of his career, including one last year.

“You know, as a wife, I am a little bit — as you know it’s an aggressive sport,” she said. “Football, like he had a concussion last year. He has concussions pretty much — I mean we don’t talk about it, but he does have concussions. I don’t really think it is a healthy thing for your body to go through, through that kind of aggression all the time. That can’t be healthy. I am planning on him be healthy and do lots of things when we’re 100 I hope.”

Later that day, the NFL released a statement saying it has no record of Brady sustaining a concussion last season. And now Friday, via ESPN’s Adam Schefter, Brady’s agent Don Yee also said his client was not diagnosed with a concussion last season.

“Tom was not diagnosed with a concussion last year,” Yee said. “Many of the protocols and safeguards still are evolving, and it’s obviously a good thing the organization and everyone close to him is vigilant and always looking out for his health.”

In Brady’s 17 years in the league, he’s never been listed on an injury report with a concussion.

For more Patriots news, visit weei.com/patriots.

Blog Author: 
Ryan Hannable

It seemed like the Patriots wanted LeGarrette Blount back and Blount wanted to return, but in the end it just didn’t work out.

The Patriots signed running backs Rex Burkhead and Mike Gillislee this offseason and then Blount signed a one-year-deal with the Eagles this week.

LeGarrette Blount signed with the Eagles on Wednesday. (Mark J. Rebilas/USA Today Sports)

LeGarrette Blount signed with the Eagles on Wednesday. (Mark J. Rebilas/USA Today Sports)

It seemed like the Patriots wanted LeGarrette Blount back and Blount wanted to return, but in the end it just didn’t work out.

The Patriots signed running backs Rex Burkhead and Mike Gillislee this offseason and then Blount signed a one-year-deal with the Eagles this week.

Speaking for the first time with the Philadelphia media, Blount called the Eagles a “perfect fit.”

“This is a perfect fit for me,” Blount said to reporters. “I’ve done everything I wanted to do. I won two Super Bowls with those guys. I don’t regret a single second of being there because I loved it there. They had some of the best years of football that you could ever remember.”

Added Blount: “I chose the Eagles for the reason of me fitting in really good here [and] the chance of me making the team, having a championship run, having a banner season. And they’re a really good team. They’re a really good team before I came. I just want to fit in.”

Blount will be part of a running back by committee with the Eagles, but that doesn’t bother him in the least.

“I’ve played with other running backs before,” he said. “I split time with Stevan Ridley. I split with Cadillac Williams [in Tampa Bay]. I’ve split with guys before, so it doesn’t bother me.”

The 30-year-old led the NFL with 18 rushing touchdowns last season, and his legacy in New England is certainly a positive one by winning two Super Bowls.

Blog Author: 
Ryan Hannable

Former Patriots center Bryan Stork is no longer in the NFL, but he’s still staying involved with football.

Bryan Stork is now coaching at Southern Miss. (Mark J. Rebilas/USA Today Sports)

Bryan Stork is now coaching at Southern Miss. (Mark J. Rebilas/USA Today Sports)

Former Patriots center Bryan Stork is no longer in the NFL, but he’s still staying involved with football.

Stork announced via Twitter on Thursday night that he has accepted a graduate assistant job with Southern Mississippi football coaching the offensive line. Last month Stork said he’s become a licensed realtor.

The 26-year-old played two seasons in the NFL after being drafted in the fourth round by the Patriots in 2014. He played in 21 career games, but battled concussions which kept him off the field.

David Andrews beat Stork out for the starting center job last year during training camp. The Patriots traded him to the Redskins, but after he failed his physical the trade was rescinded and the Patriots ultimately released him.

On March of this year, he announced his retirement from the NFL.

For more Patriots news, visit weei.com/patriots.

Blog Author: 
Ryan Hannable