A lot of teams seem to be discussing copying New England’s two Tight End set. But let’s remember that New England isn’t the only team out there that used this model. Carolina also used the model to get rookie QB Cam Newton to break the Rookie QB passing yards record with Jeremy Shockey and Greg Olsen in the 2011 season.
It’s a powerful play for teams with a shaky or new quarterback and clearly a powerful play for teams with a future hall of fame quarterback who just plays smart and with confidence. The two tight end set allows the quarterback to spread the field and keep a double security blanket should a deep thread option fail with good coverage. It not only leaves the typical one check down option open but two. Especially for teams like us who thrive on single coverage we are forced to man to man both TE’s in the middle part of the field with our nickel or safeties and hope that our corners are blanketing their targets.
Follow my thoughts after the jump…
The check-down options are safe and invaluable throws that move the chains. In my opinion it was the check-down, chip shot throw that made Phil Simms career. He wasn’t that into airing it out downfield. He had these little 5 yard dumps that just kept moving the chains, moving the chains. It takes time off the clock, they are safe easy throws, easy completions, and before you know it, you’re in the red zone and you’re either pounding it in, or we’re watching Sporano fist pump a field goal.
You may have noticed a lot of teams picking up steam on this offense… even Indy drafted the top two TE’s in this year’s draft to surround Andrew Luck with these weapons. One of the first things Denver did after signing Peyton Manning this year was go out and get Joel Dreessen and Jacob Tamme. For a ground and pound offense we need blocking tight ends who can also confuse defenses and cause mismatches in the backfield if we drop back to pass. A two tight end set would cause even more mayhem than whatever we’ve got up our sleeves with this Sanchez/Tebow/confuse your opponent with a dozen different offense scenario package wildcat garbage question mark scheme we’re going to try to run.
We’ve currently got Dustin Keller, Jeff Cumberland, Josh Baker and Dedrick Epps on our roster. We’ve had many discussions on these boards around this but Keller has good hands but is a pretty poor blocker. He will work in this system. Cumberland did not get a fair shake after his injury last year but showed flashes of talent but appeared to have some blocking skills and could be an asset for our system. Baker could be interchangeable with Cumberland although he’s a bit smaller and Epps is practice squad material.
In my opinion there are two potential TE’s still on the market we should at least shake down. Visanthe Shiancoe & Jeremy Shockey. Shiancoe leads my list at 6’4 250lbs just like Keller only the dude can and is willing to block. He is also very familiar protecting a running back that got his fair share of carries. He’s got pretty good hands in the backfield and is reliable when needed. There have been rumors already that we are looking at him and with his age (32 by season start) and his statistical decline (although on the Vikings can that be faulted) I think he’ll come within our salary cap needs. I think a set of Shiancoe and Keller or Shiancoe/Keller/Cumberland would share the pants off any opposing defense and give us plenty of options.
I’d rather not look at Shockey but I mention him because of his familiarity of the 2 TE structure in Carolina and what he was able to do to assist Cam Newton and share the work load with Greg Olsen. He’s also not afraid to get in an opponent’s face and lay someone out. I used to enjoy watching him on the Giants because he was extremely aggressive. At 6’5 251 lbs and 32 years old he’s not much different than Shiancoe but I’d rather look at Shiancoe as the better teammate, and player, and also less injury prone and stable.
The time to look at the 2 tight end sets is now and I feel there is a steal out on the market in Shiancoe. We should at least give him a call while he is still available and see what he’s looking for. What are your thoughts about the 2 tight end sets? Do you like the idea for Sanchez to grow? Do you like who we have on the roster now to pull it off? Do you think we’ll roll with it or not? Would you like to see Shiancoe brought in, or maybe you like Shockey… or did you have someone else in mind?