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Monday, December 24, 2012
Groupings: Striking a balance

By Mike Reiss

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- A look at positional groupings utilized by the Patriots in their win over the Jaguars, while analyzing what they mean (small margin for error):

2 WR/2 TE/1 RB -- 35 of 73
3 WR/1 TE/1 RB -- 34 of 73
1 WR/3 TE/1 RB -- 3 of 73
3 TE/2 RB -- 1 of 73

(Penalties included. TE Michael Hoomanawanui's snaps included as a TE than a FB, even though he lined up there once.)

ANALYSIS: The main thing that stands out from the Patriots' approach is that they opened the game with an intention of playing fast out of their 2 WR/2 TE/1 RB package. Ten of the first 11 snaps of the game were out of that grouping (5 runs, 5 passes). The Jaguars countered with their base defense and that appeared to be the desired matchup for the Patriots. But both turnovers came out of that grouping, which had the Patriots later switching to the 3 WR/1 TE/1 RB package for much of the remainder of the first half. That brought reserve Jaguars CB Rashean Mathis on to the field in the nickel, and the Patriots moved the ball well at the end of the first half in that matchup to produce their first touchdown. Neither grouping ever truly got on track in a frustrating day for the offense.