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Why Patriots TEs Hunter Henry, Jonnu Smith could break out against the Colts – Boston Herald

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FOXBORO — It wasn’t too long ago Hunter Henry and Jonnu Smith were expected to form the foundation of the Patriots’ new offense.

The NFL’s best tight end duo allowing the Pats to run and pass at will last season, players who would unlock a world of possibility and unpredictability. Then, rather quickly, the Pats discovered they played best with one of them on the sideline.

That trend has continued this year, with the Patriots playing more than four times the number of snaps from 11 personnel groupings (with three wide receivers and one tight end) compared to 12 personnel groupings (two wide receivers and two tight ends). Henry is tracking for the worst statistical season of his career. Smith is cutting it close.

And yet that all could change Sunday.

Start with the Pats’ surrounding health.

Running back Damien Harris and wide receiver DeVante Parker have missed two straight practices. When Parker is on the field, Mac Jones has made a habit of feeding and often forcing passes to him, targets that must now be distributed elsewhere. The Pats’ vulnerable offensive line should steer them into a short passing game plan, especially with center David Andrews heading toward a second straight missed game and right tackle Marcus Cannon suffering a concussion.

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