Groupings: Even with Gronk, WRs dominate

October, 26, 2013
10/26/13
2:00
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One of the things that will be charted on a weekly basis is the positional groupings used by the New England Patriots' offense, as they reveal player value and take us deeper into the X's and O's of how coordinator Josh McDaniels is attempting to attack the opposition.

One of the notable parts from the team's 30-27 overtime loss to the Jets last Sunday was the presence of tight end Rob Gronkowski. But as it turned out, Gronkowski's debut didn't change the team's approach as only 10 snaps were run with two or more tight ends on the field.

Overall, there was still a heavy emphasis on three-receiver packages (56 of 79 snaps).

On the season, here is a simplified breakdown of the team's 528 offensive snaps (including penalties, not kneel-downs):

3 or more WRs: 345 of 528
2 backs: 123 of 528
2 or more TEs: 94 of 528

There is a 34-play overlap, which accounts for snaps in which there was a combination of 3 WRs/2 backs and 2-3 TEs/2 backs.

One area to monitor in the coming weeks, from a roster-management standpoint, is if the Patriots suddenly feel they have a surplus in the tight end/fullback/running back positions.

With three tight ends, one fullback and five running backs on the roster, that's more than the average at those positions, which are often linked when considering the makeup of the 53-man roster.

Mike Reiss

ESPN New England Patriots reporter

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