An AFC East look down the shotgun barrel

Posted by ESPN.com's Tim Graham

Just because the New England Patriots operate out of the shotgun more than any other offense doesn't mean they're excelling at it.

ESPN Stats & Information has tracked every shotgun snap and found the Patriots use it most, 53.6 percent of the time compared to the league average of 36 percent.

But the Patriots' production has been below average. The typical NFL shotgun play has gained 6.1 yards this year. The Patriots have gained an average of a half-yard less.

Seven teams are averaging 2 yards or more per shotgun play. The New Orleans Saints lead the NFL with an 8.5-yard average. The New York Giants are at 8.2. The Indianapolis Colts and San Diego Chargers are at 7.9 yards.

The Patriots still are the best AFC East team out of the shotgun.

The Miami Dolphins are the third-least productive team out of the shotgun at 4.1 yards per snap. Wildcat formation plays aren't classified as shotgun because the ball isn't being snapped to a quarterback. The Dolphins don't consider plays when scrambling quarterback Pat White is taking the snap as being a part of their Wildcat package.

The Buffalo Bills' and New York Jets' offenses are tied for 26th out of the shotgun at 4.9 yards per play.

But the stats that pop out at me when looking at the Bills and Jets are the percentages they use it compared to total snaps.

To illustrate how much trouble the Bills' offense has had staying on the field, they've run 11 fewer shotgun plays than the Jets. But the Bills have used it 40.5 percent of the time, while the Jets have used it 23.6 percent.

Because of sheer volume, Patriots quarterback Tom Brady ranks second behind Peyton Manning in shotgun pass yardage with 890 and is tied for fourth in shotgun touchdowns with six.

Bills quarterback Trent Edwards has been sacked an NFL-high 13 times out of the shotgun formation, four times more than the next-closest victims, Shaun Hill and Brady Quinn.

Only five NFL quarterbacks have been sacked more often out all formations than Edwards has been dumped out of the shotgun alone.