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Shift from multiple TEs was significant

A look at the positional groupings utilized by the Patriots in their 38-17 loss to the Saints:

3 WR/1 TE/1 RB – 32 of 72 snaps

2 WR/2 TE/1 RB – 22 of 72

3 WR/2 RB – 7 of 72

1 WR/2 TE/1 FB/1 RB – 6 of 72

3 TE/1 FB/1 RB – 2 of 72

2 WR/1 TE/2 RB – 2 of 72

4 WR/1 RB – 1 of 72

(Snaps include one defensive holding penalty and one play in which there were offsetting penalties)

ANALYSIS: On their opening scoring drive, the Patriots utilized a multiple tight end package on nine of their 14 plays and were running well out of the two-back set. They had established control of the line of scrimmage. Yet on the first play of their second drive, they went with the 3 WR empty set and Tom Brady threw an interception to Mike McKenzie, changing the complexion of the game. It’s easy to second guess after the fact, but one wonders if the Patriots should have stayed with the multiple tight ends and pound-it-in-there approach based on the success of the first drive.