In response to prolate0spheroid's comment:
In response to wozzy's comment:
In response to tenace4life's comment:
Fells, Ford, Hoomanawanui, and this new kid Sudfeld may be as good a group of tight ends as most other teams in the league . . . Sudfeld may even beat out Ballard for the 3rd TE position. If one of Gronk, Hern and Ballard are 100% we will be fine and if two of them are 100% we will be unstoppable.
Agree with Sudfeld, while the kid needs to get much stronger in the upper body, his forty, three cone and vertical were solid, top 10 combine numbers.
Gronk is as good a pure fullback as there is in the league, maybe not as pure receiver as Hernendez and best of the Hbacks, he is a devastating blocker out of the backfield.
I don't get the part where Fells didn't contribute much, he played quite a bit and made some crucial blocks, if he gets cut it will becuse he gets paid more then others.
Gronk, Hern, Ballard, Huey, Fells and Sudfeld are as deep a unit as you'll find in all the NFL. If being a "homer" is being able to spot the obvious than count me in.
Fells did play more snaps than I thought (roughly the same as Hoo). My perception though is based more on his lack of contribution in the passing game (just four receptions). Gronk is such a great player because he blocks well and is also a great receiver. This enables us to use the TEs as a primary weapon on offense. While a blocking TE is important, you can't have that special two-TE offense the Pats have without two guys who are prime receiving threats. Fells may be a good blocking TE, but the strength of the position for the Pats has more to do with the fact that both TEs are great receivers. This has allowed us to get by with such a thin WR group. If we don't have Gronk and Hern, I think the two TE offense ends up being less potent and we see more one TE formations, with WRs re-emphasized and maybe even more two back formations.
I could also see more three wide with Hern as a light TE.
My guess is that they will go bunch a lot too.
Two RB sets might be hard, considering they don't have a true FB. But I could see them getting creative with TEs in the backfield or possible using two HBs with one (Vereen or Washington) primarily split at the line.