Patriots' rookie TEs far beyond role players

On the AFC East blog Monday afternoon, I shared some numbers from ESPN Stats & Information that illustrated how much the New England Patriots' offense has been relying on multiple tight ends.

With those same numbers at his disposal, ESPN analyst Tim Hasselbeck gave his take on why the approach is working for the Patriots.

"The two tight ends on the field, without a doubt, their best personnel grouping because of the matchups that it creates," Hasselbeck said. "Not all tight ends are created equal. Aaron Hernandez, he's basically a wide receiver. They like to use him around like a Dallas Clark-type tight end or a Dustin Keller-type tight end. Rob Gronkowski is a much better blocking tight end but also a viable target in the red zone.

"When they're putting their best 11 guys out on the field on offense, two of those guys happen to be rookies, and they're both tight ends. But it's certainly working for that offense."

Hasselbeck also addressed whether the Patriots are getting enough attention in the New York Jets' shadow and mentioned the Miami Dolphins might be the team getting overlooked most of all.