Skip to main content

Two TE's Better Than One

athletic player on the field was now the tight end.  

The tight end is big and bad enough to handle a fight with the defensive end or outside linebacker. Yet he is fast and agile enough to out-maneuver a linebacker in coverage. 

His evolution can be traced first through an offensive tackle, as the seven men on the line of scrimmage were literally on the line of scrimmage. All were used for blocking. The body type was influenced by the wide receiver as the tight end started getting used as a receiver - all the while he was also being modeled after a fullback. The fullback is more of a guard than a back.  

So the tight end, used as an "H-back," is a mix of an offensive tackle, a wide receiver and a fullback. Those three body types become one and express itself as Jason Witten. 

The tight end has morphed into one of the most lethal weapons to pit against a defense since the emergence of the wide receiver. 

What's vogue today is the word "hybrid." A hybrid is possessed partially of what it originally was and partially of what it needs to be. The hybrid vehicle is one that can run partially on its gas-fired engine and partially on a new electric-fired motor. 

When I witnessed Riley Odoms, a 6-6, 275-pound massive man do things with his body that to date could only be done by someone who was 60 pounds lighter, I was convinced of the value that position offers to the weaponry of an offensive attack. 

Bill Parcells' Dallas Cowboys have virtually eliminated the fullback position. It has been replaced by someone who can do what the fullback can but also what a running back can. In theory, the running back can beat the linebackers most of the time when isolated in space, but he can't when pitted against a defensive back. His size is just too large and cumbersome to beat a defensive back on a steady diet. 

With the hybrid Jason Witten, Coach Parcells believes, and he is right, that advantage sways to the offense if the attack features the tight ends or H-backs. 

If the defense elects to use its regular personnel to handle the tight end, then 90 percent of the time a linebacker will be responsible for him. The tight end will win the one-on-one pass coverage battle. (See Cowboys vs. Redskins, Sept. 17, 2006). Advantage offense. 

If the defense elects to use an extra defensive back (nickel, with five DB's) to handle the tight end, because there are five defensive backs and only three linebackers, the defense should be vulnerable to the run. Advantage Offense. 

The same conclusions are reached when on first-and-10, usually a 50-50 run-to-pass ratio, if the defense elects to "drop" a safety down to have one more person in the tackle box to stuff the run, then the wide receiver should be single covered every time. Advantage Offense. 

The tight end position is not being eliminated by the H-back. The H-back replaces the fullback and the other tight end still can be a tight end. Tight ends help offensive tackles versus pass rushers. The formation could guarantee solid protection on both sides of the ball with two tight ends in the line up. Advantage Offense.  

Because the linebacker does not fare well versus a tight end in coverage, another way to combat that is to assign a safety to him. This will, most of the time, eliminate the tight end's effectiveness, but the wide receivers are going to be one-on-one with the corner with no safety help during those times. Advantage Offense. 

The tight end and the H-back move quite a bit before the ball is snapped. Many running plays have been created with the tight end movement. The one that Dallas is using the most is the Wham block by the tight end. The quarterback will start the tight end in motion towards the center. The ball is snapped just before he gets to the center. The nose tackle is the victim of the wham block by the moving tight end. That size and velocity of the tight end combine to usually annihilate the nose, plus the guards and center have great angles to clean out anything in the hole. Advantage Offense. 

It looks like a case for every offense to use the two-tight end attack. There are several reasons to shoot that down. The biggest problem that keeps everyone from "majoring" in it is: That perfect

This article has been reproduced in a new format and may be missing content or contain faulty links. Please use the Contact Us link in our site footer to report an issue.