Positional groupings: Return to 2-TE

October, 10, 2011
10/10/11
7:30
AM ET
FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- The importance of tight ends Rob Gronkowski and Aaron Hernandez was reflected in this week's positional groupings.

When the two were healthy in the first two games of the season, the Patriots ran 83 percent of their snaps with two or more tight ends on the field. With Hernandez out in weeks 3 and 4, the number dipped to about 20 percent.

It's back up again, Hernandez' return from a sprained left MCL sparking a shift in positional grouping usage Sunday against the Jets:

2 WR/2 TE/1 RB -- 51 of 81
3 WR/1 TE/1 RB -- 22 of 81
3 WR/2 TE -- 5 of 81
3 TE/1 FB/1 RB -- 3 of 81

(Snaps include 12-men-on-the-field penalty, facemask, false start, holding, illegal contact, false start and pass interference penalties.)

ANALYSIS: Wes Welker's 73-yard catch in the third quarter came out of a two-TE look with offensive tackle Thomas Welch on as a sixth blocker. ... The power package with 3 TE/1 FB/1 RB was on for the final three snaps but couldn't convert on third-and-1 to close out the game. ... Both BenJarvus Green-Ellis touchdown runs of 3 yards came out of the 2 WR/2 TE/1 RB package.

Mike Reiss

ESPN New England Patriots reporter

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