The New England Patriots appear to have regained their dynamic two tight end form from 2011 when Rob Gronkowski and Aaron Hernandez both terrorized opposing defenses in the the middle of the field. In the Patriots’ 33-13 victory against the Cleveland Browns on Sunday, Tom Brady found Gronkowski for 5 catches and 109 yards while newcomer Martellus Bennett added 6 catches, 67 yards and received all 3 of Brady’s touchdown passes.
New England offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels said in a Tuesday conference call the Patriots will continue to aggressively attack opponents with Gronkowski and Bennett, and it’s opposing defenses that will have to decide how to try and slow New England’s passing attack.
“I think when you have a tight end position where the players can do multiple things, there’s sometimes some decisions you have to make about how to defend those players,” McDaniels said. “Some teams choose to treat ’em and defend ’em as wide receivers, some teams are concerned about the running game and the impact that they can make in the running game, and then there’s some teams that try to do a mixture of both. When you have people that can do more than one thing on the field, sometimes the defenses have to make decisions about how they want to do defend them. Our players have to be ready for either one, we’ve seen both approaches so far this year and we’re gonna have to prepare for each during the course of the week because we’re not 100 percent sure how each team is going to try and attack us or game plan for us, and our guys do a great job of studying and being ready for either one depending on how we get played on any given Sunday.”
The Patriots’ Week 6 foe, the Cincinnati Bengals, have done a solid job defending opposing tight ends this season. In last week’s loss to the Dallas Cowboys, Jason Witten’s 43 yards on 3 catches were the most yards and tied for the most catches the Bengals have allowed an opposing tight end this season.