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Monday, May 30, 2011
Scouting the Patriots' tight ends

By Mike Reiss

Matt Williamson of ESPN's Scouts Inc., breaks down the Patriots' tight ends today in a piece now posted on Tim Graham's ESPN.com AFC East blog.

"The Patriots are loaded at this position and use their tight ends like no other team in the league," Williamson writes. "Defenses must distinguish pre-snap how they count each tight end. By doing so, defenses show their hands to quarterback Tom Brady, who exploits the weaknesses. The Pats can mix and match their tight ends and offensive personnel overall like no other offense in the NFL."

Williamson then details the strengths and weaknesses of the team's tight ends, starting with Aaron Hernandez, before hitting on Rob Gronkowski, Alge Crumpler and rookie Lee Smith.

"It wouldn’t be a surprise to see this offense employ more three-tight end sets -- or even put Smith, Crumpler, Gronkowski and Hernandez on the field together," Williamson writes. "There are just so many possibilities. New England is sure to explore them all -- and make things very difficult on opposing defensive coordinators."