New England Patriots Super Bowl Champs

Patriots Introduced the I-Formation Against the Saints

Ever since 2007, when the New England Patriots turned into an all-out aerial attack with the arm of Tom Brady, the fullback position ultimately became extinct with the team—as well as across the majority of the NFL, as the league continues to turn more and more pass-heavy.

Heading into training camp, the Patriots brought along three fullbacks: Tony Fiammetta, Spencer Larsen and Eric Kettani. Which came as a huge surprise, as offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels was back in town and he was the man behind the play-calling in New England’s record-setting 2007 season.

In the team’s preseason opener against the New Orleans Saints, the rarely used I-formation made an appearance—11 plays to be exact.

In those 11 plays, New England ran the ball five times for 26 yards while completing two of the six passes for 30 yards.

Granted, this is only the preseason and it doesn’t mean that the Patriots will use more of the I-formation than they did a year ago, but it’s something to take note of.

Over the years, New England has become more and more of an unbalanced football team—which many will argue has come back to haunt them in the playoffs as their passing numbers have taken a major dip in the postseason. Perhaps Bill Belichick and Josh McDaniels have come to realize that being a balanced offense is key to winning the playoffs, and quite possibly are pondering on the idea of carrying a fullback on their 53-man roster in 2012.

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