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'Tiger' offense has worked for Pats

1/26/2012

The Patriots used a core group of offensive personnel to do the bulk of their damage in the passing game this season. So what can the Giants do to best combat Tom Brady and his two-receiver, two-tight end, one-back sets (nicknamed "Tiger" packages in the NFL)?

Trevor Ebaugh and Michael Bonzagni of ESPN Stats & Info break down Brady's cast of characters and how he has utilized each weapon.

Tom Brady had a historically-good 2011 season, finishing in the top five in every major passing category, including yards, completions, completion percentage, yards per attempt and touchdowns. But as good as the New England Patriots' offense was, it was very predictable as to whom would be on the field, and for good reason.

The Patriots have utilized the same five-man skill-position player combination on 18.2 percent of their offensive snaps, a higher rate than any other playoff team. The personnel combo, consisting of receivers Wes Welker and Deion Branch, tight ends Rob Gronkowski and Aaron Hernandez and running back Danny Woodhead, presents an array of matchup issues for opposing defenses.

Dissecting this a bit further shows the Patriots had Welker, Branch, Gronkowski and Hernandez on the field at the same time for 45.2 percent of all of their offensive snaps this season.

Tom Brady thrives in two-receiver, two-tight end, one-back sets (nicknamed "Tiger" packages in the NFL), and the Patriots take advantage by throwing the ball more than any other team in such formations.

In the regular season Brady had 382 pass attempts out of two-WR, two-TE, one-RB sets; Philip Rivers had the second-most with 223. And due to the enormous number of opportunities, Brady dominated every major passing category.

Opposing defenses have countered New England's Tiger packages with five or more defensive backs 85.1 percent of the time, instead of using their base defenses to combat the heavier personnel.

To read the full post and check out the cool, interactive graphic, click HERE.