It looks like this year the Lions are going to add a new dimension to their offense that could cause problems for some of the defenses they will face. The link below talks about using 2 or even 3 TEs to gain an advantage running the ball or throwing it, if your TEs are good enough. It’s worth the read IMHO.
“The main advantage of playing with extra tight ends in the modern game is the ability to be multiple in play-calling against specific defensive personnel,” Kelly said in his article. “This only works if the tight ends are well-rounded, with the ability to be effective in both the pass and run game.”
This was the main appeal of the Lions aggressively targeting Hockenson and James as their skill set allows the team to have success in both the run and pass game.
“The general idea is this,” Kelly continued, “enter the game with 12, 13 personnel or even 22 personnel for a particular play. If the defense counters with the modern ‘base’ personnel that includes 5 defensive backs, then they’ll be relying on those defensive backs to fit and fill against the run. Therefore, defenses are likely to counter with an extra linebacker or two in order to be more stout against the run. However, this may leave the defense vulnerable against passing looks. If those tight ends are capable pass catchers, there is likely to be one too many matchups that the offense can exploit. On top of that, defensive players are intuitively more likely to bite on play-action looks when heavier sets are inserted into the game.”