Patriots TE tandem inspires Big Nickel from Jets

Patriots TE tandem inspires Big Nickel from Jets
May 21, 2012, 3:56 pm
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The Jets have officially announced the signing of Yeremiah Bell. He joins LaRon Landry and rookies Antonio Allen and Josh Bush in a quartet of safeties acquired by New York this offseason.

So?

It's CBSSports.com's Pat Kirwan's belief that Gang Green wants a killer hybrid defense for 2012. He's talking about Big Nickel.

"It usually means there are certain players who can put their hand on the ground as a defensive end, creating a 4-3 look, or pop out of that stance and present a 3-4," wrote Kirwan. "It helps the defense disguise its intentions up front, which in turn can cause some stress to the offensive line trying to block the defense. It is an effective concept, but it doesn't always answer the offensive problems created by teams with 'hybrid' tight ends."

Ah-ha: hybrid tight ends. No coincidence the Jets have an AFC East rival with two such offensive weapons.

"Just about every defense in the NFL has studied the Patriots' Hybrid 12 personnel package (one running back, two tight ends, two wide receivers) to determine how many problems those two tight ends can create. Aaron Hernandez can line up as a wide receiver, a slot receiver, an inline tight end, a wing, a fullback or even a running back. Rob Gronkowski can line up as an inline tight end, a slot or a wing.

"No matter what defensive personnel is on the field, the Patriots can make you feel like you are in the wrong one. Play base personnel with a front seven and four defensive backs and they spread you out in a four-wide look. Play nickel defense with an extra cornerback subbing for a linebacker in the front seven, and they condense the set and run right at you. It's a problem, and defenses are studying the Big Nickel concept for an answer."

Kirwan goes on to say it's currently "a buyer's market" for veteran safeties. Good news for any team hoping to compete with New England.