Multiple TE sets

It looks like this year the Lions are going to add a new dimension to their offense that could cause problems for some of the defenses they will face. The link below talks about using 2 or even 3 TEs to gain an advantage running the ball or throwing it, if your TEs are good enough. It’s worth the read IMHO.


“The main advantage of playing with extra tight ends in the modern game is the ability to be multiple in play-calling against specific defensive personnel,” Kelly said in his article. “This only works if the tight ends are well-rounded, with the ability to be effective in both the pass and run game.”

This was the main appeal of the Lions aggressively targeting Hockenson and James as their skill set allows the team to have success in both the run and pass game.

“The general idea is this,” Kelly continued, “enter the game with 12, 13 personnel or even 22 personnel for a particular play. If the defense counters with the modern ‘base’ personnel that includes 5 defensive backs, then they’ll be relying on those defensive backs to fit and fill against the run. Therefore, defenses are likely to counter with an extra linebacker or two in order to be more stout against the run. However, this may leave the defense vulnerable against passing looks. If those tight ends are capable pass catchers, there is likely to be one too many matchups that the offense can exploit. On top of that, defensive players are intuitively more likely to bite on play-action looks when heavier sets are inserted into the game.”


So finally the offense can be masked a little. It’s not just Stafford in the shotgun with a cast back in pistol


I’m loving the direction we’re headed with the offense… I love really good TE play, I’ve been wishing for a good (two way) TE since Charlie Sander’s days…two effective TEs in todays NFL should be very fun to watch.

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I agree. 2 TE can create mismatches just like other formations, but it certainly should help the running game.

Hoping we can sustain drives and score TD’s in the red zone.

If Roberts rises to the competition, entering his 3rd year and all with last year injured and a system that is more TE friendly, we might have 3. Hopefully we can spread around the targets…

Im kinda torn on Roberts, he isnt the most athletically gifted, but he has some skill, im just not convinced that he can become as consistent as he needs to be to make this roster. Im thinking we carry four TEs, so maybe that will work in Roberts favor. Nauta is the wild card. If he can get some separation in the passing game and can still block a little bit, Roberts days may be numbered.

Little bird tells me Nauta might be finding the IR. Red shirt.

That’s what I was thinking.

Yeah, that makes the most sense. Unless Roberts can’t get out of his own way in training camp…even then Nauta has a huge hill to climb to make the opening day roster. I would hate to see the Lions try to hide him on the PS.

I saw in a Detroit Lions article already he’s sitting out drills nursing injuries. If that’s not foreshadowing, I don’t know what is.

Yeah, I hate the “hide him on PS” trick.

Pat Kirwan said he remembers working out deals with guys for them to suddenly come up lame so he could IR them.

I like the practice squad but if you are going to put a desirable guy on it you better have an understanding with the guy as well as be willing to pay him more money. It’s rare for a rookie TE to contribute much so it’s a great position to have on the PS forna year if you can get away with it. And as Mike McCarthy said, it’s a “versatile body type” so they have several special teams roles they can play if you need to bring them up in a pinch.


There are good points in your argument, but only if you can tolerate the guy being potentially poached out from under you. Paying him more money just puts a sign on his head that we think he’s valuable, then other teams take notice.

I think a lot is to be gained from just observing from the ground level. IR allows that to happen.

The player can’t truly be “poached.” The player has to agree to leave. That’s why I say with a player you value, you should have an understanding with him what his role will be and be willing to pay him more money so that’s not an issue in his decision later if a team puts in a request.

Some players should stay with a teams PS because it’s such a good situation and opportunity for them. Leaving for an unknown situation temporarily part way thru the year is risky. Keeping it specific to the Lions though, I would not stay on our PS if I were a TE. Between big money James and Top 10 TJ, what kind of opportunity do you really see for yourself over the next 2-3 years? (compared to some other teams)

Not much.

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They are exposed to the waiver wire before they ever make the PS.

But you’re right, we’ve elevated guys in the past for the very reason you’re suggesting… some other team came sniffing and we did what we needed to to retain them.

That first 24 hours, though, your hands are tied.

wesley, is that true that a player on a PS can refuse to go to another team? And if it is, do you have any knowledge of a player ever doing it?

Yes it’s true. Going to another team is completely the players decision. And definitely there have been players who chose to stay rather than leave to an unknown situation.

A quick Google search:
“Team can pay practice squad players more than the slotted weekly salary to entice them to stay on a practice squad and not accept an offer to join the 53-man roster of another team. This happened to Alex Tanney of the Giants in 2016 when he was a member of the Tennessee Titans. He turned down an offer to join the Cleveland Browns, instead choosing to stay in Tennessee with an increased practice squad salary.”

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Interesting and thanks for the research. I never heard of Tanney so I did some research, he had been with the Browns before in 2013. I thought, “Why did a guy at his age turn down a chance to be on a team where he might actually get a chance to start?”. Well, he’d been there before and this is what they had to say about him…

So, I get why he didn’t leave. I found two other players who have also declined to move, so that makes three. They were eminent to join their teams roster. In the end it gives the player latitude that I didn’t think they had and that’s a good thing but rarely used.

There have been more than 3 guys who have chosen to stay with their current team. Each player needs to evaluate his own situation, and the situation hes going into. Some players will blindly leave no matter what and I disagree with that approach.

But staying on the subject of Nauta and the Lions, I see no reason for this guy to stay if another team came calling. The path to starter is non existent on paper, and even being in a key backup role is problematic on paper.

Eh, if I had a chance to make a 400k + salary vs a few thousand a week I’m gone. Being on a PS means you already cleared waivers and everyone had a shot at you. It also means that your chances are slim to none of making the squad because that’s what the numbers say. Nauta was a decent pick simply because we needed the most help at TE and he played at a decent level and the 7th round is exactly where you roll the dice. I would have said that he was odd man out before Roberts was dropped, but if they truly are going to run 2 TE sets they need to keep 4 on the roster and I think he makes it over Cunningham.who is basically the same size. Teams blow smoke all the time but when you say he has the best hands of all the TE’s in the draft, it says a lot…“We loved his tape (in college),” White said. “I thought he had the best hands of all the tight ends in the draft. He’s just effortless catching the ball – making really tough catches. We’re trying to see where he fits. I think he’ll have a nice little niche.”

To add…

What you pay the PS guys counts against the cap.

The entire salary counts against the salary cap. The players are ineligible to play for the team while on the Practice Squad and players are free to sign a contract with any other team while on the Practice Squad. If signed by another team the team must carry the player on its active roster for at least 3 weeks. Sometimes teams will increase PS salary to entice a player to remain on a PS and not accept an active contract from another team. For example Greg Salas, who was on the Patriots’ Practice Squad in 2012, was paid $1 over the minimum salary for an Active player to give him the financial incentive to stay in New England rather than accept another teams offer. Players can be activated from the Practice Squad to their own teams Active roster at any time.”

(Do note the Patriot angle here. active player minimum +$1, how quaint. I can see the new team come in with an active roster position and minimum + $2…)