The Patriots have placed an increased focus on growing the size of their receivers on offense, and yesterday's acquisition of Tim Wright falls in line with the objective. Bigger is better, especially in the red zone, and the Patriots are putting themselves in a position to excel on all phases of offense.
What might come as surprise is how dramatic of an increase in stature we've seen at receiver. When we use weighted values of receiver height (including running backs and tight ends), with respect to the number of receptions in the offense, we find that the average Patriots receiver has stood between 5'11.5 and 6'0.5 for each of the past five seasons.
This may come as a surprise, due to the smurf-like offense in 2011, but the offense's make-up has remained fairly consistent.
The main growth comes from the receiver position itself. Since 2011, where Deion Branch and Wes Welker were the only wide receivers to record 20 or more receptions, the average height has increased from 5'9 to 6'1 in 2013, a jump of four inches. However you value the 6'4 Wright in the offense, the Patriots have continued to grow with the addition of the 6'2 Brandon LaFell, who looks to be heavily involved on offense.
The Patriots now have the option of fielding the 6'6 Rob Gronkowski, the 6'4 Michael Hoomanwanui, the 6'4 Tim Wright, the 6'3 Aaron Dobson, the 6'2 Brandon LaFell, the 6'1 Kenbrell Thompkins, and the 6'3 James Develin in any combination in the red zone. Feature 5'10 running back Shane Vereen in the backfield and there are myriad ways to confound the opposing defense.
How is a defensive coordinator supposed to defend Gronk, Wright, Dobson, Develin, and Vereen? The team could be in a Power formation, with Gronk as the inline tight end, Develin as the fullback, and Wright as the setback. It could flex out all five into a receiving position. It can spread the opposing defense out, while leaving Vereen in the backfield. All five players can beat their defenders as receivers. All five can work in a blocking package.
This offense will be the tallest and largest we've seen in some time, with the increased production following close behind.