Fewer groupings, but various looks

November, 1, 2010
11/01/10
10:30
AM ET
When charting the Patriots' positional groupings in Sunday's 28-18 win over the Vikings, it is straight-forward on the surface.

The team was most often in a 2 WR/2 TE/1 RB grouping, while mixing in a 3 WR/1 TE/1 RB grouping. The only time it varied was on their final three plays when they had the 3 TE/1 FB/1 RB power package on the field.

But while it might seem like a vanilla approach, it was anything but, because the Patriots did a lot of different things from a formation perspective.

One example came with tight ends Alge Crumpler and Aaron Hernandez lining up in the offensive backfield. Another came with splitting tight ends Hernandez and Rob Gronkowski out wide in an empty backfield look.

So in a continuing theme, the versatility of the Patriots' tight ends is creating more creative opportunities for the offense.

Groupings against the Vikings (illegal formation and false start penalty included):

2 WR/2 TE/1 RB -- 38 of 54
3 WR/1 TE/1 RB -- 13 of 54
3 TE/1 FB/1 RB -- 3 of 54

Mike Reiss

ESPN New England Patriots reporter

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