Gronk’s Back: Patriots Optimum Offense Week 1

Each week, Mark Schofield reviews the film to find the New England Patriots Optimum Offense Play of the Week. Against the Miami Dolphins in Week 1 it was Rob Gronkowski’s touchdown reception in the 2nd quarter.


Patriots’ 2nd & Goal at the Dolphins’ 6-yard line 8:45 remaining in the 2nd quarter.

On the 13th play of a drive that would cover 94 yards, New England lined up in a single-back formation using 12 personnel with Tom Brady under center and Stevan Ridley in the backfield. Danny Amendola and Julian Edelman were aligned in a slot formation to the left, while Michael Hoomanawanui lined up on the line to the right with Rob Gronkowski split out wide right. Miami set up in a 4-3 alignment with nickel personnel, using an over front on the defensive line.

In a straight drop-back passing play, New England brought Amendola in short motion from the left sideline, setting up a stack in the left slot with Edelman just as the ball was snapped. The pair ran a short five- to seven-yard crossing combination on the left, with Amendola breaking under Edelman to the outside at the goal-line while Edelman ran a deeper route, breaking over the middle of the end zone.

Hoomanawanui and Ridley stayed in to help with pass protection, while Gronkowski ran a delayed drag route over the middle of the field. Miami rushed four down linemen at the snap of the ball, and when the strong-side linebacker recognized that Ridley was staying in the backfield to block, he came on a blitz in an attempt to put pressure on Brady. The Dolphins played Cover 1 in the secondary, with the two remaining defenders aligned at linebacker (one of them a defensive back) in underneath zone coverage. The pass protection was solid, at least on this play, giving Brady time to step up in the pocket. This allowed Gronkowski time to get separation from his defender and provide his quarterback with a massive end zone target, where he hauled in his first TD catch of the season.

While the day ended with a New England loss, fans can take comfort in the Patriots optimum offense play of the week featuring an element missing last season – the big receiving target in the red zone – has returned and looks ready to give his quarterback a fantastic option in the scoring area.

Follow Mark on Twitter @MarkSchofield.

Mark Schofield has always loved football. He breaks down film, scouts prospects, and explains the passing game for Inside the Pylon.

5 thoughts on “Gronk’s Back: Patriots Optimum Offense Week 1

  1. Great breakdown. Really good example of how hard it is to cover that TE drag route.
     
    In that vein, I’m interested in what’s going on with the safety. The safety picks up help on Edelman when Gronk has his man beat by more, and even sticks with Edelman as a basically open Gronk runs right in front of him.
     
    Anyone have any insight into why? I mean, seems like in a Cover 1, the safety should be especially mindful of the guy who’s one of the greatest red zone threats in the league, shouldn’t he? Was Brady’s looking off of Gronk to Edelman that convincing? Was it because Grimes was on Gronk and is considered less likely to need help, even when covering a guy 8 inches taller and 50+ pounds heavier? Did Edelman hypnotize him with his “I’m open!!” wave?

  2. Watch the safety’s head pre-snap. Not once, but twice, he checks the Edelman/Amendola combo. So ore snap that is what he is focused on. Between that and Brady’s initial look there, it is enough to influence him away from Gronk.

  3. Watch the safety’s head pre-snap. Not once, but twice, he checks the Edelman/Amendola combo. So ore snap that is what he is focused on. Between that and Brady’s initial look there, it is enough to influence him away from Gronk.

     
    I did not notice this before you mentioned it and I’ve watched that clip about 25 times. Wow, nice pickup Mark.

  4. Now the question becomes: Did Brady pick up on that?

    This is the crap we never get to know. Very cool.

     
    Maybe, but I’d argue what’s more important is what the safety did post snap.  When Gronk and Edelman cross the safety had to make his decision and went with Edelman which just seems wrong.  Gronk is obviously more of a redzone threat, its kind of tough to tell at that angle but it also looks like the corner was in a good position against Edeleman.  But he also probably should have picked up on the pressure that was coming at Brady from his right which really limited his throwing lane to Edelman.  This is a bit of a tough critique on the safety because obviously its really difficult to make a decision based on all of these things at game speed but he also probably should have just  kept it simple and gone with ‘Gronk most important, me cover’

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