David Butler II-USA TODAY Sports
Gronkowski and Hernandez are the keys to New England's offense.
The most dominant two-tight end offense in football belongs to the New England Patriots, thanks to the versatile talents of Rob Gronkowski and Aaron Hernandez.
The Patriots show no signs of running out of ways to use Gronkowski and Hernandez to terrorize defenses. Both spend time in the slot, in-line and out wide.
Gronkowski presents a favorable target against any defender, regardless of position. He remains perhaps the most deadly red-zone receiver in the game.
While Gronkowski is content to batter defenses, Hernandez prefers to outrun them. He is a wide receiver trapped in the frame of a tight end and the Patriots use him as such.
They let Hernandez take screen passes, shift in motion to a flanker's position and run deep routes off the line. The Patriots will use any method to maximize Hernandez's talents in space.
While Gronkowski usually delivers the force, Hernandez offers more guile. Every defense has to note their pre-snap positions on every play.
Gronkowski and Hernandez are so good as a duo, they have propelled the Patriots to consecutive AFC Championship Games, despite threadbare options at wide receiver.
Injuries meant that the Patriots rarely had Gronkowski and Hernandez on the field together in 2012. If that changes in 2013, Bill Belichick's team will still be a powerful force in the AFC race.