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For Seattle, two tight ends were too many

9/24/2009

Posted by ESPN.com's Mike Sando

Those watching the 49ers defeat the Seahawks in Week 2 might have noticed Seattle tight end John Owens dropping passes on first-half drives that later stalled. I counted four drops on the Seahawks' first 12 pass plays, including two by Owens.

Why would the Seahawks be targeting Owens, a blocker by reputation, when they have so many other superior options? The 49ers' defense forced some of the decision making, but I also think the Seahawks could have better options at receiver once Deion Branch returns from injury in Week 3.

The chart shows what I noticed when analyzing the Seahawks' production across personnel groups. The team was less productive rushing and passing when Owens joined John Carlson as part of the team's packages with two tight ends. That's not solely a reflection of Owens or the personnel grouping -- down and distances matter, too -- but the Seahawks might be better off working Branch into the offense at the expense of the second tight end.

Seattle used two tight ends about a third of the time on its first 25 snaps and about half the time on its first dozen plays of the second half. The team was in hurry-up mode with one back, three wide receivers and one tight end the rest of the time.

  • For download: This file shows the Seahawks' offensive production across personnel groups in Week 2, with a play-by-play notes on a separate sheet. I do not count aborted plays. Quarterback scrambles do not count in my rushing stats.