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Deep Steel Blueprint: Kubiak's Tight End Army Ready To Assault Miami

I don't think this picture has been used this week.
I don't think this picture has been used this week.

I don’t have an official source on this story, but I don’t think I would be too far off if I said Houston Texans head coach Gary Kubiak was giggling like a child while watching the Miami Dolphins on Monday Night Football. 

It was not because he was enamored with seeing a former back-up quarterback, much like he once was, throw for 517 yards. Nor was it because Ron Jaworski said a naughty word or Jon Gruden showed off his vocabulary of about 12 words – many of which can be understood by an...oh, hi there, BRB Aggies.

Coach Kubiak was giggling because the Deep Steel Blueprint presented itself as obviously as it could and it just so happens to involve Gary’s favorite toys.

To reach 2-0, Kubiak is going to have to unleash his tight ends upon
Miami and strike with furious anger and clever route design. Jump with me to take a look at Miami's struggles on Monday night and how Houston can exploit them.

This past Monday, New England tight ends Rob Gronkowski and Aaron Hernandez combined for 13 receptions, 189 yards, and two touchdowns. Any way you slice it, their performance was absolutely brilliant.

If you want something Football Outsiders-y, then I could tell you that both, unsurprisingly, rank in the top-four among tight ends in Defense-Adjusted Yards Above Replacement (simply put, DYAR is a total value quantifier which is better to use, at this point, than the DVOA stat).

With the ol’ eye test, I couldn’t help but notice that there was tons of space along the seams and middle of the field, and no Dolphin defender could really match up well against a tight end. As a result, New England’s tight ends were able to do anything they wanted with ease.

Even if it has been to an extreme in past seasons, this is why Gary Kubiak, along with a growing number of others, values the tight end so much. For the Texans, Owen Daniels, Joel Dreessen, James Casey, and Garrett Graham provide huge mismatches with their size and athleticism, and that’s what Houston should be thinking when they take the field on Sunday.

Thirteen catches and 189 yards means you don’t need to overthink this. With a thinner receiving corps, the plan should be set in stone: Get the tight ends involved early and often. I would have Daniels and Dreessen (with Graham as a rotational guy) out at tight end, with Casey in his fullback/H-Back/tight end/slot WR/duct tape-can-do-anything role. Between those three, you’re going to get a personnel mismatch somewhere or cause the defense to miss an assignment among the three tight ends.  

As has been said about the tight ends before, you don’t tip your hand because of this. You can still call an audible at the line if it looks like Miami’s going to play zone coverage or stack the box against the run. For all the dead horse jokes, it seems that Kubiak’s collection of tight ends is primed to pay off now that they’re healthy and able to be utilized on the field together.

At the end of the game, if you tell me that the 2-TE + Casey package was utilized fairly often (let's say 30-50% of offensive snaps), then I’d feel pretty good about the offensive success against Miami. That would hint that Houston had smartly challenged Miami where they showed weakness and were able to run their gameplan (read: Miami didn’t force them to play their game).

What say you, BRBers? Will the tight end collection pay off or will Miami learn how to stop tight ends within their short week of practice?

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