The football tight end position is one of the most important positions in the modern offense. they are required to have a unique skill set that combines multiple players.
Tight ends in football are required to block running backs and catch passes from the quarterback. these players are a hybrid between an offensive lineman and wide receiver skills.
Reading: What is te in football
This article will show you all the different varieties of tight ends and how they are used in common offensive schemes.
tight ends in football
There are several types of tight ends in football. each tight end is unique to the scheme in which he plays. Coaches have a variety of tight ends to suit their attacking style, both passing and running.
To run dominant teams, they may need to block tight ends. pass-heavy teams will have tight ends or h-backs that catch passes strictly in their system.
The tight end position combines an offensive lineman and a wide receiver. this player is typically smaller than an offensive lineman, but can catch the ball and is athletic like a wide receiver.
These players are rare in football. they often cause mismatch nightmares for the defense, as linebackers are too slow to cover them in man-to-man coverage.
blocking tight ends
The first and most common type of tight end is the blocking tight end. this player is common in power schemes and close range situations. coaches will often use blocking tight ends to get another blocker on the field.
blocking tight ends are usually bigger players and stalkers who don’t necessarily move as well, but block very well. these players are often included in running sets where they need additional support to block defensive ends or linebackers.
In the 1970s and 1980s, blocking tight ends was the most common type of tight end in the NFL. this player often has his hand on the ground and is ready to be physical at the point of attack.
blocking tight ends will often catch 1, maybe 2 passes in a game. again, it depends on how often the run-blocking tight end catches the ball in the coaches’ offensive system.
pass catching tight ends
Pass-catching tight ends are more common in today’s game. Players like Rob Gronkowski, Travis Kelce and George Kittle are among the best tight ends. these players are known as pass-catching tight ends.
Pass-catching tight ends lean more toward the athletic skill set of pass-catching than the run-blocking skill set. That doesn’t mean they can’t block. those three players mentioned above are extremely good at blocking.
First revolutionized by Kellen Winslow, the pass-catching tight end did not exist in the early forms of American football, only run-blocking tight end. It wasn’t until Air Coryell that bigger, more athletic tight ends began to appear in the game of football.
why use a tight end in football?
Pass-catching tight ends can be a defensive nightmare. it all comes down to staff matchups.
for example, a player like travis kelce is 6’5 tall. not only is he athletic, but he can also block. If you’re the defense, you have two decisions to plot against Travis Kelce.
The first decision is to keep a linebacker on the field. linebackers are better set up to play the run and have an advantage over being stronger against a guy like kelce.
The downside, however, is that a linebacker is weak against the passing game. A player like Kelce will efficiently run for a linebacker in man-to-man coverage. this gives kelce the advantage in the passing game.
The second option is to bring in a defensive back against a tight end. defensive backs are typically smaller players, so they wouldn’t miss a screen from a tight end in the running game.
however, in the passing game, they are more suited to covering a tight end and a player like travis kelce.
the defense will always be wrong. they must decide whether to play aggressively toward the run with a linebacker or cover the pass with a defensive back.
This is why tight end matchups are a nightmare, as coaches need players big enough to play defense but quick enough to pass.
the new tight end: h-backs in football
another term for a tight end is a h-back. the reason it’s called h-back is because of the position they line up. as we write here, each position usually has a letter that identifies its location.
the h-back often lines up behind the tackle or a yard out from the tackle. This player is unique in that he can go through the formation and throw out a defensive end who executes the “fast break” of the play, or he can rely on a defensive end as in the inside zone.
Back position is unique to each coach’s scheme. still, it gives the offensive coordinator the flexibility to use the tight end as a guard instead of a stationary position on the line of scrimmage.
Learn more about wide receivers by reading the articles below.
learn to derive & stack at wide receiver
what is a slot receiver or a slot corner?
how to beat football press coverage
why do wide receivers aim for the sidelines?
why do wide receivers wear gloves?
The tight end position is becoming increasingly popular, creating mismatches for the defense.
Athletic tight ends are responsible for both blocking and catching passes. these players are unique in that they can block like an offensive lineman but have the catching ability of wide receivers.
tight ends pressure defensive coordinators to put a linebacker in the game to stop the run or force a defensive back to stop the pass. the defense will often be wrong, as dispersed offenses can control different plays at the line of scrimmage based on personnel.
tight ends will continue to revolutionize the game as they become more critical to coaching schemes.
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