New England and the tight end

Discussion in ' - Patriots Fan Forum' started by BritPat, Feb 19, 2010.

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  1. BritPat

    BritPat In the Starting Line-Up

    #54 Jersey

    So, it was mentioned in the "Pats need a TE" thread about the Patriots possibly misusing/under-utilizing their Tight Ends, specifically Watson, and the question was asked about close that is actually being true.

    I've been crunching the numbers for the last couple of hours (with my tea/dinner/whatever you guys call it in the States included), and this is what I've come up with in regards to Big Ben (the most used of the NE TE's, not by much granted, 74 snaps). Stats are regular season only by the way:

    He took in 784 total snaps, with 383 snaps as a pass catcher. During these 383 snaps, he was targeted just 40 times. He hauled in 29 of those catches. So that's 49% of the time he was running routes, 51% of the time he was back in blocking. When he was running a route, he was targeted just 10% of the time.

    The next thing you'll see are the numbers for basically the top 10 pass-catching TE's from 2009 (minus the vastly under-rated Zach Miller, plus the vastly under-rated Todd Heap). The numbers in order are - total snaps, snaps running a route, targets, catches, percentage of snaps as a pass catcher, percentage of targets to route running. I'll repost Ben's at the bottom as a reminder.....

    Jason Witten - 1088 - 543 - 121 - 94 - 50% - 22%

    *Dallas Clark - 996 - 524 - 129 - 100 - 53% - 25%

    Antonio Gates - 848 - 489 - 110 - 79 - 58% - 22%

    Tony Gonzalez - 971 - 547 - 125 - 83 - 56% - 23%

    Brent Celek - 909 - 454 - 106 - 76 - 50% - 23%

    Vernon Davis - 1001 - 540 - 116 - 78 - 54% - 21%

    Kellen Winslow - 877 - 537 - 117 - 77 - 61% - 22%

    Todd Heap - 983 - 446 - 72 - 53 - 45% - 16%

    Heath Miller - 1064 - 513 - 92 - 76 - 48% - 18%

    Ben Watson - 784 - 383 - 40 - 29 - 49% - 10%

    * = Didn't complete 16 games, making his figures all the more remarkable.

    So, what does that tell us?

    In comparison to the top pass-catching TE's in the league, he's not being used as much as a pass catcher, although the difference isn't huge (it is enough to warrant some thought however).....the real thought provoking figures however are the amount of times he's actually targeted in comparison to his number of 'routes'. Just 40 targets all year long. 1 route in 10 he is targeted. That's one third (33%) of the targets for Jason Witten, despite having 71% of his amount of 'routes'.

    The targets figure drops slightly to 31% in comparison to Dallas Clark (the best true pass catching TE in the league IMO), whilst the routes figure rises slightly to 73%. Here they are in full:

    Witten - Targets; 33% - Routes; 71%
    Clark - Targets; 31% - Routes; 73%
    Gates - Targets; 36% - Routes; 78%
    Gonzo - Targets; 32% - Routes; 70%
    Celek - Targets; 38% - Routes; 84%
    Davis - Targets; 34% - Routes; 71%
    KII - Targets; 34% - Routes; 71%
    Heap - Targets; 56% - Routes; 86%
    Miller - Targets; 43% - Routes; 75%

    Pretty damning really. He's not even being used as much as two guys seen as good all round TE's, but hardly seen as great pass catchers. You can't even say Ben's not being targeted because of dropped passes/coverage - he caught 73% of the balls that went his way last year. Par for the course in comparison to the rest.

    So, to sum up - Ben is running enough routes to warrant more targets and receptions, although not as many as the 'top' TE's, but either:

    He's running a shed load of dummy routes for whatever reason;
    He's not getting open enough;
    Brady is simply looking away from him for whatever reason.

    If the Pats insist on the position being used in this way for the foreseeable future, then the system simply doesn't warrant the use of a specialist pass-catching TE, and we're better off with TE's that can block well first and foremost, and catch balls, not quite as an after-thought, but it being a secondary attribute to their blocking abilities. It has to if the team either can't or won't include a 6'3", 255lb guy that runs a 4.5 40 in it's offensive game-plans.
  2. emoney_33

    emoney_33 Experienced Starter w/First Big Contract

    Thanks for the awesome breakdown. He ran more percentage of routes that I would have initially guessed. Now I'm interested if 2009 was an anomaly or has Watson consistently been under-utilized that much.
  3. BritPat

    BritPat In the Starting Line-Up

    #54 Jersey

    If I've got a free week, I'll try and work it out :D

    What was noticeable when I had a quick glance through Baker's stats is that he was used even more as a blocker.

    Basically the way we've used our TE's this year is as blockers first. Which begs the question whether the coaching staff feel that the O-line needs extra help in comparison to years gone by.
  4. BritPat

    BritPat In the Starting Line-Up

    #54 Jersey

    Something I forgot to mention - his snaps as a pass catcher rose quite significantly against 4-3 teams. Against 3-4 teams he was used more as a blocker.

    Very interesting.
  5. signbabybrady

    signbabybrady Veteran Starter w/Big Long Term Deal

    #22 Jersey

    I think I can shed some light on this. I did some research when the Dreaded injury to Welker happened.

    I was trying to reason that Edelman and Big Ben could pick up the slack just on the sheer fact Brady will get further in his reads and actually get to the third read.

    What I found was that somewhere around 50-55% of the time Tom passed it wound up in Moss' or Welkers hands. Meaning that about half the time he threw he never had to get past his first two reads.

    I compared that to the Caldwell year which was actaully Watsons best year and I believe and I am less sure about this but I believe that year it was like 30% went to his top two targets.

    I did this research and then we got smoked so bad in that playoff game that I never was able to learn if their was any truth to the theory.
  6. signbabybrady

    signbabybrady Veteran Starter w/Big Long Term Deal

    #22 Jersey

    My guess using Patbrits analysis and the one I did that I just mentioned would be that Watson has been similarly utilized since we got Moss and Welker.

    What all this tells me is that I would love to have Watson back but he probably wants to get the hell out of here and go somewhere he can double or triple the amount of times he is targeted. For what it is worth he said he would like to return but that could have been posturing.
  7. zimmy

    zimmy On the Game Day Roster

    It all has to do with Wes Welker. Welker runs a lot of routes that traditional tight ends run, especially someone like Dallas Clark. Secondly he gets open so often that Brady just throws him the ball all the time.

    Thirdly,and I said this in the other thread and got slated, but I just don't think Brady trusts Watson to consistently catch the ball. If you trust one of your guys completely and have fears about your tight end, where's the ball gonna end up?
  8. mgteich

    mgteich Veteran Supporter

    Watson had a lot of snaps and was important to the team. Personally, I think that he did all that he was asked to do. In any case, he needs to re-signed or replaced.

    It seems that the patriots want two TE's: one as a combination blocker/receiver and one as a blocker and an occasional receiver. And yes, I think that both would ahve had more receptions in 2009 if there weren't so many OL injuries.
  9. Box_O_Rocks

    Box_O_Rocks Supporter Supporter

    OLBs can be deadly...a once upon a time story for NE.
  10. Triumph

    Triumph Experienced Starter w/First Big Contract

    #75 Jersey

  11. holyredeemer

    holyredeemer Third String But Playing on Special Teams

    #12 Jersey

    Watson isnt a poor blocker, but he's not superb either. All you have to do is casually watch the games and over the last several yrs. you could see that this team doesn't utilize the TE very much in the passing game. That's why I never quite understood all of these high picks always going to TE's over the yrs.

    If we are gonna keep in most of the time as blockers, thats fine. But, we could get that with later round picks or FA's. Hell, dont let Daniel Graham go. Its that simple. :)
  12. BritPat

    BritPat In the Starting Line-Up

    #54 Jersey

    A bump for those who have not seen this thread.

    In a few hours, I'll go through the 2008 stats for Ben and see what things look like.
  13. KontradictioN

    KontradictioN Do you even lift? Supporter

    No Jersey Selected

    This was an awesome post. Should be a wake up call to the "Watson sucks" crowd... but probably won't be. See no evil, hear no evil, speak no evil.
  14. WelshPat

    WelshPat Third String But Playing on Special Teams

    Whoever brought up Welker made a great point, that he's taking targets away from the TE's. But then who do you want to get the ball more, Wes Welker or Ben Watson?

    If you look at what happened in Denver, their TE's numbers went down this year as they moved to Mcdaniels offense. My thing is, Mcdaniels isn't here anymore. We heard guys say that this offense was predictable, either in the plays called, or the formations. I think it's time to move away from that type of offense- especally now that Welker is hurt.

    Does Watson flat out suck? No. But we can get better- and need better now. Another thing is, his numbers were down even more with Cassel. He may have been asked to block more, that wouldn't surprize me, but Cassel just seemed to ignore him anyway.

    I just don't see any upside in the guy. Why resign him when we can draft someone who has a chance to be much better?

    I just want to add, this draft is loaded with athletic pass catchers, that don't really block well. When Vernon Davies came out, BB mentioned him by name as one of the top players he liked, but didn't have a chance of getting. Davies didn't block in college, but is known as a great blocker now. You can teach how to block, but it's harder to teach the pass catching stuff, so i wouldn't be scared of if they get someone not known as a blocker.
    Last edited: Feb 20, 2010
  15. HarkDawg

    HarkDawg Banned

    In Watson's defense.....

    we often run 5 spread....

    it does not do Watson justice when he is a borderline 4th receiver

    spread offense is what we run...... 3 4 or 5 eligible receivers. We rarely use TE's to their capability and we compensate it w/ slot receivers that run similar routes (Welker, Edelman). as a stereotypical TE would run.

    I do not think Watson is worth the $$$ he probably thinks he is worth. Let him go...... He was good and ok...... his injury history is unattractive and that is his downfall.

    This yr.... look for a FA

    next yr draft a good looking one (skill) w/ promise with a 1 or 2 pick imo.
  16. MoLewisrocks

    MoLewisrocks Supporter Supporter

    This fanbase wouldn't have survived what it took to get 2006 Vernon Davis to the 2009 Vernon Davis level...
  17. BritPat

    BritPat In the Starting Line-Up

    #54 Jersey

    Chaps, I just want to say, this thread isn't really about Ben Watson's qualities, faults etc - it's about his use, and the use of the rest of the TE's in our system. If you want to debate his merits and deficiencies, I'd suggest this is the wrong place to do it.

    I'm about to start the 2008 figures by the way.
  18. BritPat

    BritPat In the Starting Line-Up

    #54 Jersey

    If you're running the spread, especially 5 wide, then the TE will be receiving. And Ben had the 7th highest amount of snaps offensively on the entire team. The only guys with more snaps were the O-line (sans Light and Vollmer), Brady and Moss. What you're saying and arguing doesn't really add up, although I believe the final snippet to be true.

    He might be worth the money, but with the way we've utilised him over the last season certainly, he isn't worth it. In fact from the figures I'm looking at, only Jason Witten is. And maybe Marcedes Lewis.

    You've missed the point of the entire thread reading that. Look at the first post - there's no point using a high pick on a pass-catching TE. They're not used enough.
    Last edited: Feb 20, 2010
  19. lurker1965

    lurker1965 In the Starting Line-Up

    No Jersey Selected

    Hey, there is always the draft.

  20. R_T26

    R_T26 Banned

    What most people are trying to say its fine if you run a spread offense and its fine if your offense doesnt feature the tight end that much.
    Whats not fine is all the resources spend on tight ends that are not used.

    1st round picks for Graham and Watson a 3rd for Thomas and baker got a decent contract.
    Just seems wasteful for what they produce.

    Remember in 2004 we all wanted dansby, who became
    a 3-4 probowl lb,he was picked right after watson on a team that drafted a te #1 2 years earlier.

    But didnt reports come out that watson was really a pioli pick?

    In saying that i think hes a pretty good te, just as i thought thomas was if he got more of a chance.
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