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What To Expect From The TE Position?

Discussion in 'PatsFans.com - Patriots Fan Forum' started by mgteich, Feb 16, 2014.

  1. mgteich

    mgteich PatsFans.com Veteran PatsFans.com Supporter

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    WHAT SHOULD EXPECT FROM OUR TIGHT ENDS?

    The TE production was 53 catches for 744 yards last year, pretty normal for the Belichick era

    Actually good except for the years when we counted a WR/TE as a TE. Even then, it is only 2011 that is out of range with a more healthy Gronk. 2010 stats were 87/1109 and 2012 was 106/1273.

    We were spoiled by 2011.

    Because of Gronk's health and the quality of the first two days of the draft, I certainly do think that we should concentrate improving at TE.

    AS A SIDE NOTE
    Our 2013 passing team had 380 receptions for 4345 yards with so many injuries (including Vereen). It seems that 2012 numbers of 402/4844 are well win reach (and beatable).

    Of course, receptions and yards mean little unless we have a couple of red zone threats for crunch time. I would note that one of the best receptions of the year in the entire NFL was Hooman's TD.

    CONCLUSION
    It seems that the passing offense will likely be fine with the re-signing of Edelman or a replacement. Are there those who disagree?
  2. Sciz

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    I would expect better than "if people don’t cover them, we’ve thrown them the ball plenty this year."
  3. Ivan

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    Reasonable conclusion, especially if Gronkowski is healthy all season, however i don't think they can get past Seattle or S.F. with their offense as it is currently comprised. If the goal is to be good they will achieve that, if the goal is to win the Super bowl I think they need to improve significantly on both sides of the ball.
  4. supafly

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    Part of me certainly agrees with you, and then there's also a part that feels that we are closer than some may initially see it as.

    Considering that we made a deep playoff run last season with the limited talent available, we may not need to "improve significantly" on both sides of the ball. It may very well just come down to getting some better health and having a few spots upgraded. Of course, you may view that as "significant improvement." I'm not as sure of a clear cut answer, since it will depend on personal viewpoint.

    Another capable receiving threat, a better interior lineman, and some better health would go a long way on offense. Another impact player on defense, along with some better health may go a long way on defense as well; particularly if that health comes from Aqib Talib.

    Many continue to compare us to SEA/SF, but as we know--there's obviously no guarantee that they make it either. SEA could end up being a game behind SF and be forced to play 3 games on the road in the WC round just to get back. Who knows?
  5. supafly

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    That'd be my assessment as well.

    To steer it back towards the TE subject, I think that we should expect an upgrade in talent from Matthew Mulligan and Hooman---hell, yes. No doubt.

    The addition of another capable receiving threat in BOTH the WR/TE grouping would basically bring us right back to the best offense in the NFL in my opinion. We may not be able to improve both aspects, but there should be a good chance of improving at least one of the two.

    If the receiving threat comes from the TE role, fine. If it comes from the WR role, fine too. Either way you look at it, the odds have to be rather high that we should be able to do this with the semi-pathetic talent that the team had for last year at either position.
  6. micronin127

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    Any offensive weapon (TE or WR) that we can put on the field that demands a double team, meaning safety help, opens up the field and can prevent other teams from lining up in man coverage across the board. The few games we had Gronk last season really opened up the field for WRs and RBs.

    Drafting a TE who can be easily covered by a CB/S/LB like Hooman or Mulligan both were won't help. So if both Ebron and Amaro are off the board, I wouldn't reach for let's say Troy Niklas or even Austin Sefarian-Jenkins as though they might be good in the red zone, but they are more prototypical TE's that can block and catch rather than the kind you line up in the slot and send down the seam.

    I would draft a guy like Mike Evans or Kelvin Benjamin who are both like 6'5" receivers and see what they can do to force a safety to help cover over the top.

    Anything we can do to open things up for Vereen, Boyce, Amendola, Dobson, Thompkins, etc... by placing an offensive weapon on the field that the defense must devote a lot of attention to, like Gronk, would let us better take advantage of matchups as lesser CBs float down to Dobson, Boyce, etc... and Vereen draws coverage from a LB.
  7. Deus Irae

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    The Patriots were supposed to be an offense built around the two TE receiver system. That was pretty universally expected prior to the incarceration situation. That being the case, how can you honestly try to make the claim that 53/744 for the entire TE crew, which was lower than Gronk alone in 2012, and which was nowhere near the 2011 season (each of the two starting TEs had more than 75 catches and 900 yards) was, to use your words, "actually good"?
  8. mgteich

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    I wouldn't expect you to be one of those who think that the patriots began playing in 2010.
    Apparently, the patriots offense now is built around 1000 yards from the TE position, something that happened only when we had our TE as one of our top 4 receivers starting in 2010.

    If that is really required, don't bother with Edelman or an equivalent receiver. Go out and spend the money for a top TE.

    IMHO, the patriots are much more flexible than that. We won three SB without 1000 yards from our TE's. In 2012, we were a top 5 offense without 1000 yards from our TE's. Obviously, it was disappointing to have Gronk injured. However, I don't think that we need more than a healthy Gronk and a 1000-1300 from the TE position to be awesome from that position. As I said, 2011 was an aberration.

    Also, as you have said MANY, MANY times, it is not the tight end production from 2011 or even 2012 that needed to be matched. We needed, and need, to do well in total production from our receivers, tight end and wide receivers alike. It makes little difference whether our top 2 downfield and redzone threats are wide receivers or tight ends.

  9. hwc

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    It's not just production from the tight end position. It's the amount of cap money at the tight end position that the Pats had on IR or in jail. They spend a whole lot of cap money with little or nothing to show for it in 2013. In the NFL, wasted cap dollars hurt.

    It's easy to forget just how much much the Hernandez fiasco is hurting the Patriots and it's another year before they can dig out from under it.
  10. mgteich

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    1) We do not have a TE cap budget, or a receiver cap budget. Hernandez was both.

    2) We do not have a huge amount of dead money. MOST teams have much larger cap issues than we do as we can see from all the cuts and voided contracts since the Super Bowl.

    3) Decisions need to be made for 2014. It makes no difference where the $6M of TOTAL dead money comes from.

  11. Deus Irae

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    You're making a separate issue. The issue is your claim that the TE play was "actually good". The issue is not "compared to the old days....", because the offense was not designed the same as the old days.

    Using your numbers as the baseline, Gronk, who played in only 7 games, had 39 of the 53 catches you mentioned, and he had 592 of the 744 yards as well. So, all the non-Gronk TEs combined for 14 catches and 152 yards over the course of 16 games. This is from a team that was put together with the idea of being TE-centric.

    Saying that the TE play was "actually good" is crazy talk.
  12. mgteich

    mgteich PatsFans.com Veteran PatsFans.com Supporter

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    To look at 2013 TE play by excluding Gronk is simply silly. OK, I'll be silly too. If Gronk didn't play at all our TE play would have been poor.

    I looked at the total TE production and noted that this was normal for the Belichick years, and with Gronk healthy would be even be normal for the Gronk years.
    ========================

    As I said in another post, if it crucial for the #2 TE to be one of the top four targets and have significant production, then let's forget re-signing Edelman and sign a top TE instead.

    Personally, I think that there many ways to for a patriot passing team offense to win. There is no requirement of a TE/WR combination as a top producer. Instead, we could get the production from a top #3 receiver.

  13. JoeSixPat

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    I guess if we need some additional cap space for TE or any other position we can probably get some cap relief on Hernandez's $7.5 million pretty easily

    All we need to do is extend his contract a few years and backload the deal

    :D
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    We could get the production from a WR3 just the same, depending on how Belichick views things of course.

    That said, it's hard to imagine him not liking the mismatches that we could exploit with the 2 TE sets vs opposing defenses.

    I'm all for improving both areas, one in free agency at WR + one with a top 2 round TE rookie selection.
  15. supafly

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    Love it! Now there's using your head ;)

    One aspect to consider is that when we refuse to pay Hernandez his bonus money next month, it will most likely be tied up in the courts for awhile, so it's not like we'd see immediate cap relief anyway.

    They may see the 3.25m relief eventually down the road, but it's not something we can expect to see for the initial period of free agency. That will unfortunately have to come from other avenues.
  16. mgteich

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    Do you mean to sign one or two major signings in free agency (Edelman plus a free agent) or just one?

  17. supafly

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    I think that's the million dollar question. Personally, I would be fine with either one, and we'll have to let the guy who makes the big bucks decide on that all important offseason problem.

    Examining the situation, however:

    (We retain Edelman)--in order to have the WR3 produce on enough of a level to compare to the 2012 or 2011 TE2, we'd have to see the following:

    a. Edelman not only stay healthy, but continue the kind of 100+ catch production that we saw in 2013 under odd circumstances

    b. See Amendola not only take a step or two forward, but also stay healthy enough himself, that he sees 12+ games again

    c. Have Aaron Dobson make a nice year #2 leap to where he can put up 55-60 catches as the WR3

    To me, that seems like it could happen, but some/many may view it as a bit of a stretch considering that we'd need ALL 3 of those things to occur.

    VS.

    (We replace Edelman with Amendola), and go after more of a field stretcher/physical presence in free agency--in order to see WR3 production that warrants a comparison to the TE2 from 2012 or 2011, we'd have to see the following:

    a. Have Amendola be the one who receives 175 targets, which seems reasonable. He received approx 80-85 this season, and caught 54 passes for a 65% reception rate. He also had a much higher percentage of 1st downs than Edelman, and also had a bigger YPC stat too. Edelman caught 105, and Amendola caught 54 on about 1/2 as many targets. The numbers add up to the same production or even more as Edelman, with the same # of targets as Edelman received. The question of course, is once again Amendola's health. The kicker is that we have the same concern with Edelman as well. Only Belichick can decide if he wishes to pay BOTH Amendola/Edelman 4-5-6m per year, unless we could somehow retain Edelman on a shorter term deal of around 2/10 (like Welker's offer). If that's the case, Belichick may feel that it's worth it for at least another year depending on how Amendola looks in 2014.

    b. Have Dobson make the same year #2 leap that we projected in the keeping Edelman scenario. It would seem that either way, we're going to need Dobson to make a helluva year two leap one way or the other

    c. Have the "new" receiver acquired via the free agency period or draft produce something near Amendola's 2013 level of 55 catches or so. Of course, the want will be higher, but one can argue that we "could" get by with that kind of production as long as we still had a 100+ catch slot guy, and 55-60 catches from Dobson as well. It's much more likely that we'd all have more of a higher bar set for whatever new receiver was brought in, whether that'd be through the draft or free agency. There's also the possibility of the move saving money



    It could be argued that going with a TE who would instantly make our offense better immediately may be the better choice, although the options are much more limited in free agency. To me that means that we're more likely to see a rookie TE chosen in the draft, however I'm just commenting on the whole "TE2 vs WR3" debate that you brought up. One may see the odds of getting that kind of production out of our WR3 are a bit lower than having another TE come in and getting him 50 catches or so.
  18. Deus Irae

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    Who's excluding Gronk?

    The point is that Gronk played in 7 games all season, which means that all TEs not named Gronk had 14 catches in 16 games, but Hooman and Mulligan combined for 3 receptions during the time that Gronk was playing. That means that, over the course of 9 games (more than half the season), the TE position contributed a whopping 11 catches. That's the TE position that this team was supposed to build its aerial attack around.

    Saying "Gronk was good during the stretch were he played" is one thing. Saying that the TE play for the season was "actually good" is crazy talk.
  19. DarrylS

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    Prior to the arrest of AH, envisioned this Offense heading in the direction of 2011 TE production of 169 catches and 24 TD's... stuff happened.

    The end result was that the envisioned offense which featured TE's and slot receivers, had to feature our rookies in a role which they are probably not ready for.

    Thus this team sometimes sputtered on offense... imo it is not that complicated, we need to revert back to the 2011 success.. somehow.

    IMO BB would like nothing better than to get back to what has worked for them in the past..
  20. AzorianPats

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    Outside of the 7 games Gronk played, the TE play was horrible this year......

    I agree, there's other ways we can build a passing attack, but considering all the years BB been here, and all the high draft picks he's used in that position (2 first's, and a second) I don't see BB going away from the 2 TE set. Too much of a mismatch.

    Even if he wants to go away from that formation, there needs to be a plan b in case Gronk not ready.

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