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New England Patriots

EAST RUTHERFORD, NEW JERSEY - SEPTEMBER 19: Quarterback Mac Jones #10 of the New England Patriots directs the offense in the first half of the game against the New York Jets at MetLife Stadium on September 19, 2021 in East Rutherford, New Jersey. (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)

The Patriots’ offense against the Jets was a little different from what we saw in Week 1.

After playing mainly a two-tight end offense against Miami, the Patriots ran exactly half of their offensive plays out of three-receiver sets against the Jets. They likely expected more than nine combined catches for 69 yards out of the wide receiver position, as they aimed to take advantage of the Jets’ inexperienced secondary.

Meanwhile, they had the most success with tight ends Hunter Henry and Jonnu Smith on the field at the same time. So it’ll be interesting to see what direction Josh McDaniels and the offense take going forward, considering their best collection of weapons is likely to include both of their high-priced free-agent TEs together.

Keep reading for a full breakdown of the Patriots’ offensive personnel in Week 2 against the Jets, what worked, and what didn’t. (Note: offensive personnel groupings are described as a two-digit number, the first digit representing the number of running backs and the second digit representing the number of tight ends, ex. “12 personnel” = one running back, two tight ends, two wide receivers).

  • Snap Counts

    Sep 19, 2021; East Rutherford, New Jersey, USA; New England Patriots tight end Hunter Henry (85) gains yards after the catch as New York Jets linebacker Quincy Williams (56) pursues during the second half at MetLife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports

    Sep 19, 2021; East Rutherford, New Jersey, USA; New England Patriots tight end Hunter Henry (85) gains yards after the catch as New York Jets linebacker Quincy Williams (56) pursues during the second half at MetLife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports

    Unsurprisingly, wide receiver Jakobi Meyers once again led the team in offensive snaps with 52 out of 58. He’s been their most-used skill player for nearly a full calendar year. But Nelson Agholor and Hunter Henry gave Meyers a run for his money in this one. (Note: Snap counts and other data have been updated to remove two plays that resulted in pre-snap penalties.)

    Patriots Offensive Snap Counts

    Jakobi Meyers: 52
    Nelson Agholor: 50
    Hunter Henry: 47
    Kendrick Bourne: 31
    Jonnu Smith: 29
    James White: 29
    Damien Harris: 24
    Jakob Johnson: 15
    J.J. Taylor: 5
    Gunner Olszewski: 5
    Yasir Durant (TE): 3

    James White out-snapped Damien Harris at running back, which was a reflection of the Patriots running more “11” personnel than in Week 1. White’s touchdown run came in “11”, as did his seven-yard run on the play prior. Harris’ game-changing 26-yard touchdown run was in “21” personnel with Jakob Johnson in at fullback.

    Henry’s significant advantage in snaps over Smith could simply illustrate that Henry is healthier right now, as Smith appeared on the injury report during the week with a hip.

  • Personnel Packages

    EAST RUTHERFORD, NEW JERSEY - SEPTEMBER 19: Quarterback Mac Jones #10 and wide receiver Kendrick Bourne #84 of the New England Patriots celebrate teammate's James White #28' touchdown in the first half of the game against the New York Jets at MetLife Stadium on September 19, 2021 in East Rutherford, New Jersey. (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)

    EAST RUTHERFORD, NEW JERSEY – SEPTEMBER 19: Quarterback Mac Jones #10 and wide receiver Kendrick Bourne #84 of the New England Patriots celebrate teammate’s James White #28′ touchdown in the first half of the game against the New York Jets at MetLife Stadium on September 19, 2021 in East Rutherford, New Jersey. (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)

    As mentioned earlier, the Patriots’ favorite grouping in this game was “11” personnel (one RB, one TE, three WRs) for 30 out of 60 snaps. There was a fairly healthy balance of the rest of the groupings. But clearly, the Pats entered this game hoping to exploit the Jets’ lack of depth or experience at cornerback.

    Play distribution

    11 personnel: 51.7 percent (30 snaps)
    12 personnel: 22.4 percent (13)
    21 personnel: 17.2 percent (10)
    23 personnel: 5.2 percent (3)
    22 personnel: 3.5 percent (2)

    Run vs Pass

    11 personnel: 80 percent passes (24/30 snaps)
    12 personnel: 69.2 percent passes (9/13)
    21 personnel: 80 percent runs (8/10)
    23 personnel: 100 percent runs (3/3)
    22 personnel: 100 percent runs (2/2)

    The Patriots offense certainly wasn’t unpredictable. Based on the personnel grouping, it’s clear in hindsight whether the Patriots were calling a run or pass. But 69.2 percent passing out of “12” personnel isn’t so bad. Obviously, the Jets couldn’t do quite enough to take advantage, or weren’t doing a good job of deciphering the plays.

  • What Worked (And Didn't Work)?

    Sep 19, 2021; East Rutherford, New Jersey, USA; New England Patriots quarterback Mac Jones (10) celebrates with offensive guard Alijah Vera-Tucker (75) and tight end Jonnu Smith (81) after a Patriots touchdown during the second half against the New York Jets at MetLife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports

    Sep 19, 2021; East Rutherford, New Jersey, USA; New England Patriots quarterback Mac Jones (10) celebrates with offensive guard Alijah Vera-Tucker (75) and tight end Jonnu Smith (81) after a Patriots touchdown during the second half against the New York Jets at MetLife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports

    The Patriots’ most successful grouping, by far, was “12” personnel (one RB, two TEs, two WRs). Excluding plays that resulted in penalties, here’s how each personnel grouping fared, based on yards per play…

    11 personnel: 4.6 yards/play (28 plays)
    12 personnel: 8.5 yards/play (12 plays)
    21 personnel: 1.6 yards/play (9 plays)
    23 personnel: -1 yards/play (3 plays)
    22 personnel: 1.5 yards/play (2 plays)

    In “12” personnel, the Patriots gained 8.44 yards per play passing. Key to this were two chunk plays: a trick pass to Smith for 19 yards, and a wide-open Henry down the seam for 32 yards. Plus, Damien Harris’ game-changing 26-yard touchdown run came in “12.” They also didn’t allow a sack. All this only makes it more curious that the Patriots aren’t going to this package more often.

    Speaking of unpredictability … the Patriots averaged 4.22 yards/play passing out of “11” personnel, but six yards/play running. White’s seven-yard touchdown run, and seven-yard gain on the play prior, helped in that department. Kendrick Bourne also took a reverse for 16 yards.

  • Third Down

    EAST RUTHERFORD, NEW JERSEY - SEPTEMBER 19: Quarterback Mac Jones #10 of the New England Patriots passes the ball against the New York Jets in the first quarter of the game at MetLife Stadium on September 19, 2021 in East Rutherford, New Jersey. (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)

    EAST RUTHERFORD, NEW JERSEY – SEPTEMBER 19: Quarterback Mac Jones #10 of the New England Patriots passes the ball against the New York Jets in the first quarter of the game at MetLife Stadium on September 19, 2021 in East Rutherford, New Jersey. (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)

    The Patriots had a bad day on third down, 3-for-12 overall. One of their failures to convert came off an intentional grounding penalty against Mac Jones. They ran 10 out of 12 third-down plays in “11” personnel, which isn’t surprising. But including sacks, they netted -3 yards on those plays. Minus the sacks, it’s still two yards per play. They went 2-for-10 out of “11” personnel on third down.

    Meanwhile, they converted their only third-down attempt out of “12” personnel (again with the two tight ends), a 12-yard run by Harris.