Double trouble with tight ends

December, 23, 2011
12/23/11
10:55
AM ET
Dan Pompei of the Chicago Tribune, one of the best in the business, wrote on the Patriots' usage of the two-TE offense as part of his "Sunday Blitz" piece on National Football Post (link here). Pompei's piece includes insight from Patriots coach Bill Belichick.

When it comes to putting a second tight end on the field instead of a third receiver, Belichick tells Pompei, "If they can block competitively at all, you are a more balanced offense than you are putting a 190 pound receiver on the field."

Using Pompei's piece as the catalyst, the Patriots' season-long numbers were totaled.

The results show the Patriots have had two or more tight ends on the field for 780 of 995 snaps (penalties included), for a 78.3 percent clip. The only two games in which the multiple tight ends weren't used the majority of the time were against the Bills (Week 3) and Raiders (Week 4) when Aaron Hernandez was out with a knee injury.

This is a big contrast from the record-breaking 2007 season, when the Patriots were a three-receiver offense with Randy Moss, Wes Welker and Jabar Gaffney.

Still, this is the type of attack that Bill Belichick has long favored -- there was a reason he drafted tight ends Daniel Graham (2002) and Benjamin Watson (2004) in the first round -- but the challenge has been finding the tight ends to run it. He has them in Rob Gronkowski and Hernandez.

To see the season breakdown of multiple tight end usage, click on the "read full post."

at Dolphins: 65 of 80
vs. Chargers: 60 of 71
at Bills: 4 of 75
at Raiders: 24 of 66
vs. Jets: 59 of 81
vs. Cowboys: 68 of 74
at Steelers: 53 of 58
vs. Giants: 70 of 78
at Jets: 59 of 69
vs. Chiefs: 63 of 67
at Eagles: 71 of 75
vs. Colts: 56 of 64
at Redskins: 59 of 59
at Broncos: 69 of 78

Mike Reiss

ESPN New England Patriots reporter

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