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Tuesday, September 13, 2011
Positional groupings: TEs dictate play

By Mike Reiss

MIAMI GARDENS, Fla. -- A look at the positional groupings utilized by the Patriots in their 38-24 win over the Dolphins, and analyzing what it might mean:

2 WR/2 TE/1 RB -- 51 of 80
3 WR/1 TE/1 RB -- 15 of 80
1 WR/3 TE/1 RB -- 12 of 80
3 TE/1 FB/1 RB -- 2 of 80

(Includes defensive offisde penalty, illegal formation penalty, false start penalty, 12 men on the field penalty, false start penalty, encorachment penalty, holding penalty and false start penalty.) 

ANALYSIS: The Patriots ran 65 of their 80 snaps with two of more tight ends on the field, which reflects how the position is such an important part of the offense. The tight ends dictate the personnel that the defense will play, and there was a good example of this in the third quarter on BenJarvus Green-Ellis' 13-yard run. The Patriots had three tight ends on the field and the Dolphins were in a nickel defense. The Patriots ran it because of the favorable matchup and had success. If Rob Gronkowski and Aaron Hernandez stay healthy, it adds a dynamic dimension to the offense. Overall, the Patriots liked the matchup of their tight ends against the Dolphins, who didn't have anyone to cover them. ... The three-receiver package was used primarily at the end of the first half, in the two-minute attack (9 of 15 snaps). Stretching back to preseason, this is an area the Patriots haven't had much success. Coordinator Bill O'Brien might consider some alterations to that approach.