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Bills vs. Jets, 2014 NFL Week 8: multiple-tight end formations

The Buffalo Bills are looking for any edge they can get on offense these days, and their use of multiple-tight end packages and formations has proved to be an effective wrinkle in limited doses over the past two weeks.

When you get right down to it, multiple-tight end personnel groupings are still a relatively small part of what the Buffalo Bills are doing offensively. On a 70-play day against the Minnesota Vikings last week, for example, the Bills used two or more tight ends on just 13 snaps, or roughly 18.6 percent of the time.

Despite its still fairly limited use, however, this wrinkle is much more than a simple reason for the team to deactivate Mike Williams on game days. Doug Marrone, Nathaniel Hackett, and the Bills' offensive brain trust are using these formations to dictate the way defenses line up, and to create positive matchups not just for Sammy Watkins, but the rest of the team's skill players, as well. Used in moderation, it has been effective to this point.

The gallery above - best viewed in landscape mode if you're on a mobile device - breaks down the Bills' use of multiple-tight end personnel packages and formations from last week's win over Minnesota. You'll take particularly close note of the number of times that Watkins was left one-on-one on the boundary as a result; his 26-yard touchdown in the second quarter was the prime example, as he scored on a four-verticals call out of a three-tight end look.

Tight end usage is interesting beyond the realm of the X's and O's, as well. Gragg is seeing more work in single-tight end packages as a receiver, and continues to show well in run-oriented looks as well. Chandler remains the most versatile option, able to run a fairly round route tree from several points on the field. For a position that Bills fans have been looking to upgrade for several seasons in a row now, the Bills are getting some solid play from this group.

Buffalo began using more multiple-tight end looks in their Week 6 loss to New England - and you can bet that, against an odd-man front defense like the one Rex Ryan employs with the New York Jets, the Bills will continue to use these looks in Week 8.