The thought of a two-tight end offense for the New England Patriots was seemingly thrown out the window given the departure of Aaron Hernandez and the injuries to Rob Gronkowski. However, Josh McDaniels is sticking with it. This is an absolutely brilliant move.
Even though McDaniels is down to Michael Hoomanawanui and Matthew Mulligan at tight end, he still has two good blocking tight ends playing for him. So these two must be paired together in all rushing situations. Some people prefer the I-formation, which would call for a fullback. That does not make sense though. Which would be better, a 240 pound fullback and one 260 pound tight end, or two 260 pound tight ends leading the way for a running back?
Gronkowski may be gone for the season, but that does not mean that the current two tight ends are useless. They can help bring balance back to McDaniels’ playbook, as was evidenced in last Sunday’s win over the Baltimore Ravens. McDaniels called a good amount of running plays to help protect the Patriots’ lead. And his two tight ends helped pave the way for Patriots’ running backs.
What is great about a two-tight end set is that Tom Brady can throw in it, too. Most defenders would assume a run play because Hoomanawanui and Mulligan are considered blockers. However, that could be the perfect situation for McDaniels to call a play-action pass. One of those two tight ends could slip open and make a big play in the passing game. It is not something that is likely to happen a lot, but certainly a play for McDaniels to keep in his back pocket.
That is why McDaniels must stick with his two-tight end offense. He gets bigger bodies to block the Patriots’ running backs, but also maintains the ability to call an unexpected passing play once in awhile. It truly is an unpredictable formation.
Philip Alexander is a New England Patriots writer for RantSports.com. Follow him on Twitter @steely0906, “like” him on Facebook or add him to your network on Google.