Detroit Lions seem lined up to use multiple tight ends more often in 2022

SideLion Report

With better depth at the position, will the Detroit Lions use more multi-tight end formations in 2022?

When T.J. Hockenson missed the final five games last season, the lack of tight end depth for the Detroit Lions was exposed. It got exposed even more during that stretch, as Jared Pinkney and Ross Travis were the top two options in Week 17 against the Seahawks.

The Lions took some effort to bolster the tight end depth chart this offseason, signing Garrett Griffin in free agency and drafting James Mitchell in the fifth round. Brock Wright became a bit of a find as an undrafted free agent last year, so the Lions seem to have some pieces at the position. Devin Funchess was signed this week to add another option.

Tight ends coach Tanner Engstrand praised Wright’s perfomance during OTAs.

A young guy like Brock (Wright) last year. I mean he kind of came into OTA’s last year (and) nobody really knew much about him…He did a heck of a job and and it’s a credit to him…He’s just done a phenomenal job for us in general,”

Will the Detroit Lions put multiple tight ends on the field more often?

According to Sharp Football, the Lions had multiple tight ends on the field for 196 of 1,050 offensive plays (18.7 percent) last season. Narrowing to “12” personnel (one running back, two tight ends), their 15 percent rate was well below league average (21 percent) and higher than just six other teams.

Engstrand, via, talked about the value of having multiple tight ends on the field.

When you can play with multiple tight ends, on the field, it really kind of puts the stress on the defense, I think, especially when you have guys that can flex into different areas, per se,”  “Maybe where you can get them into a nickel defense, and we’ve got 12-personnel or two tight ends on the field, and maybe we can take advantage of the defense in a certain way that way, as opposed to maybe a different defense that they may have out there.

If they were in, say, a base defense and maybe we have a really good pass-catching tight end, such as T.J., we can go ahead and attack a defense that way, you know, and just create those matchups that we want when those guys are on the field.”

The Lions will have better offensive weapons this year, especially once rookie wide receiver Jameson Williams is healthy. Hockenson and the tight ends will have more room to operate in the middle of the field, and the depth chart looks better.

The more options and alignments that are viable, the better for the Lions’ offense. But it sounds line Engstrand will be in offensive coordinator (and former tight ends coach) Ben Johnson’s ear to cook up more plays out of multiple-tight end sets this season.

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