Groupings: Still true to the TE

November, 24, 2012
11/24/12
1:00
PM ET
A look at the positional groupings utilized by the Patriots in their 49-19 win over the Jets and analyzing what it might mean (small margin for error):

2 WR/2 TE/1 RB – 51 of 68
3 WR/1 TE/1 RB – 14 of 68
1 WR/3 TE/1 RB – 2 of 68
1 WR/2 TE/2 RB – 1 of 68

(Includes penalties. Three snaps played by Michael Hoomanawanui are accounted for as if he was a tight end, even though he sometimes lines up at fullback.)

ANALYSIS: The big question was how the Patriots would alter their attack without injured tight end Rob Gronkowski, and the groupings show they didn’t do much tweaking at all. The stayed within their offensive structure -- willing to stay with the multiple-TE packages if it produced what they felt was the most advantageous matchup. That’s what happened -- the Jets matched with a nickel against the 2 WR/2 TE/1 RB groupings, and Daniel Fells (1 catch, 24 yards to go with some notable blocking) essentially stepped into Gronkowski’s role. The one snap with the two running backs was a big third-down conversion in the first half, with Stevan Ridley lined up in the fullback position, and quarterback Tom Brady pitching to Shane Vereen.

Mike Reiss

ESPN New England Patriots reporter

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