Why Solder at TE was effective
September, 19, 2011
By Mike Reiss | ESPNBoston.com
FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- One of the game-plan wrinkles for the Patriots in their 35-21 win over the Chargers was utilizing offensive tackle Nate Solder as a third tight end. The Patriots called on it 18 times.
Leon Halip/Getty ImagesNate Solder lined up as tight end 18 times Sunday vs. San Diego.
What did it add to the offense?
"The Chargers have a very good defensive front. They have outstanding guys on the end of the line [at outside linebacker] with [Travis] LaBoy, [Shaun] Phillips and [Antwan] Barnes, so just having another guy out there to handle them or another guy on the wing with Dan Gronkowski just puts a little more presence on those positions," coach Bill Belichick explained.
Here is how the Patriots' production broke down out of the Solder power package:
Runs: 14 for 63 yards, TD
Passes: 3 of 3 for 41 yards
On one snap, the Chargers were penalized for a neutral zone infraction.
The package was used seven times in the first half, and 11 times in the second half. In the second half, it helped the Patriots impose their will on the Chargers on the final touchdown drive.