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How I learned to love the two-tight end system

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Josh McDaniels and his playbook put a shroud of mystery around the St. Louis Rams offense this year. I know here at TST more than a few posts have tried to get a sense of what exactly it might look like. We do know that one big feature of the offense will be the 2-TE approach, used to great effect by McDaniels' old boss in New England last year.  

Over the weekend, we looked at  a fantasy-focused post from PFF and tried to overlay the 2-TE emphasis on top of it. 3k delved into the Xs and Os of the 2-TE system a few weeks ago, with plenty of chalk talk and video to engage all levels of fans. Players have said that it figures to be an explosive system

But what do we really know? 

Once again, the data shop over at PFF provides a little teaser today. Last year, New England used a 2 TE, 2 WR, 1 HB formation on a stunning 49 percent of all pass attempts, far and away the highest in the league. 

Obviously, not every pass in those sets goes to the tight ends. What it does do is set up what could be a fairly diverse attack. You have Steven Jackson on the field which should command the attention of the defense; last year opponents were confident enough in their ability to control the pass that they still stacked the box to stop SJ39. The consequences could be deadly for that with this approach. 

Having two tight ends like Gronkowski and Hernandez or Lance Kendricks and Michael Hoomanawanui gives the offense some real diversity. Not that kind of diversity, but two chess pieces that can line up in different spots and run different routes. Don't be surprised to see Hoomanawanui lined up as a fullback in these formations, as Bellichick did with Gronkowski. 

To get a better idea of the kinds of different looks and plays, not to mention the advantages of the 2-TE system, you really need to go back and read 3k's piece

Throw in the receivers and you can see where this becomes difficult to defend, a la the Rams notion of stressing a defense versus stretching it. 

The Rams want to make McDaniels' 2-TEs the center of this offense. You can clearly see why it's such an attractive system in the absence of an elite receiving corps. Expect to see the 2-TE formations on the field very often this year.