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Wednesday, June 15, 2011
Classifying the Patriots' offense

By Mike Reiss

In an Xs and Os type piece that nicely categorizes the 32 offenses in the NFL, Nolan Nawrocki of Pro Football Weekly defines what makes each attack go. Nawrocki splits the offenses into two categories:

1. Precision-matchup
2. Vertical-power

Once each team is placed in one of those categories, he then defines whether those attacks are "settled" or "unsettled".

The Patriots fall in the "precision-matchup" category and are defined as "settled".

Of the offenses with the same category and definition, the Patriots rank fourth.

"New offensive coordinator Bill O'Brien has gained increased responsibility each year since he arrived as an offensive assistant in 2007, working with the receivers, quarterbacks and helping coordinate the offense the past two years after Josh McDaniels departed. Bill Belichick remains significantly involved in streamlining packages, but O'Brien deserves a share of the credit for Tom Brady's NFL-best 36-4 TD-to-interception ratio last season," Nawrocki writes.

"The early season trade of Randy Moss placed a greater emphasis on the Patriots' two rookie tight ends, with Aaron Hernandez filling a stretch-the-seam role until he got hurt. Wes Welker, Deion Branch and Danny Woodhead thrive in the Patriots' offense because they are quick, crafty and can be trusted to cut off routes at the exact length — a huge part of the reason for Brady's NFL-low interception total. Brady will take deep shots, but is at his best exploiting matchups with a precision passing game."

For those missing "pure" football chatter, Nawrocki delivers with this piece. This is the type of thinking that Bill Belichick taps on a weekly basis when he's getting players up to speed on their opponent.