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Thoughts on Patriots from last 24 hours, including why Dion Lewis likely won’t be returning to New England

Ryan Hannable
March 07, 2018 - 11:15 am

Even though it's early March in between the NFL combine and start of free agency, it's been a busy 24 hours for the Patriots.

-- First off, it doesn't seem like running back Dion Lewis will be returning to New England.

According to NBC Sports Boston's Mike Giardi, his expected contractual demands are a problem and apparently Lewis remains disappointed by his usage both early in the season and again in the Super Bowl.

Most knew about his disappointment early in the season, but this is the first we've heard of the Super Bowl. He finished the game with nine carries for 39 yards. The only problem with Lewis saying this is the Patriots trailed for almost the entire game, and by double digits at times. That isn't exactly the time to run the ball.

Lewis did a lot good things for the Patriots, but from this perspective, and especially this season, he's been a little too dramatic with the reports behind the scenes. He's a solid running back, but not a player who is on the same level as say Julian Edelman or Danny Amendola in terms of importance to the team.

The Patriots will be fine at the running back position without him.

-- Tuesday afternoon it was reported linebackers coach Brian Flores will take over the play-calling duties, but will not officially be named defensive coordinator.

This shouldn't come as much of a surprise, as the organization did the same thing with Matt Patricia in 2010 and 2011. Flores won't have to participate on conference calls with the media each week, as coordinators are required to. It also puts things more on the shoulders of Bill Belichick. If things go wrong, Belichick will be taking almost all of the blame. 

Flores did receive head-coaching interest this offseason, so it is a bit curious why he isn't getting the official title, as clearly he's viewed highly across the league.

-- Wide receiver Kenny Britt will be back next season, as reportedly the team picked up his 2018 option.

If everything goes according to plan and everyone comes back and stays healthy, it's likely Britt will not make the final 53-man roster, but there are some questions and Britt is a good insurance policy to have.

There's no guarantee Danny Amendola returns. There's no guarantee Malcolm Mitchell can come back healthy, and as we saw in the preseason last year with Julian Edelman, injuries can happen.

Britt will turn 30 next September.

-- This came as no surprise, but according to multiple reports, defensive tackle Alan Branch will not return to the team in 2018, as his option was not picked up.

It was clear he wasn't in their plans when he wasn't active in any of the playoff games after saying his knee was fully healthy after injuring it in December.

When Branch plays hard he's a very dominant player, it's just an effort thing for him at times and Belichick likely had enough.

At 33 years old, this could be the end of his NFL career.