FOXBOROUGH, Mass. – A look at the positional groupings utilized by the Patriots in Monday’s 42-14 win over the Texans, while analyzing what it means:
2 WR/2 TE/1 RB – 37 of 73
3 WR/1 TE/1 RB – 26 of 73
1 WR/3 TE/1 RB – 9 of 73
2 WR/1 TE/2 RB – 1 of 73
(Penalties included; kneel-downs not included.)
ANALYSIS: It wouldn’t be a surprise if the Patriots bring in another receiver this week (perhaps Deion Branch, if healthy) as the team is too thin there, and could use some more flexibility of the game-day roster. When Donte' Stallworth was sidelined for the final 25 minutes of the game, the Patriots were limited in what they could do with the 3 WR/1 TE/1 RB package based on available personnel. That's always a concern and could lead to more depth being added. ... The Texans matched the Patriots’ 2 WR/2 TE/1 RB package with a base defense, and then brought slot CB Brandon Harris on when the Patriots went to the 3 WR/1 TE/1 RB grouping. Harris, who was playing in place of injured Brice McCain, was called for holding Wes Welker in the slot on a third-down play that extended the Patriots’ first scoring drive. ... Most teams have been matching the Patriots’ 2 WR/2 TE/1 RB package with a nickel this season, so this was a change-up and the Patriots did some solid work in the running game, with Michael Hoomanawanui delivering some nice blocks (e.g. wham block on the second play of the game). Brandon Lloyd’s 37-yard touchdown and Aaron Hernandez’s 4-yard touchdown both came out of the 1 WR/3 TE/1 RB grouping -- with Lloyd's coming off play-action -- which was good news for the receiver-thin Patriots.