Dallas Cowboys tight end Jason Witten was happy to provide guidance for the defending champions New England Patriots ahead of Super Bowl LII versus the Philadelphia Eagles.
Witten plays the Eagles twice a year in the NFC East and advised Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski, who is looking to win his third Super Bowl of his career.
"They really play aggressive, they hunker down and they’re daring you to beat them," Witten said via The MMQB's Andy Benoit. "Their corners have been beat on double moves maybe as high as anyone in the league. The thing is, those defensive backs have so much confidence in that rush that they hover around that first down marker. They really get on their heels and hunker down because they’re almost daring you to run by them. So for a tight end who’s running a lot of intermediate routes - and Gronk’s inventory is a little more vertical than most - with that, you have to expect the defenders will be hanging around those first down markers. So you have to use deception in your route concepts with your leverage and how you attack to get separation."
Witten also believes it's unlikely the Eagles will try to stop Gronkowski by getting a defensive end to redirect him early in his route.
"I often wonder: Would the Eagles ever adjust and tighten their defensive end alignments? Really, they believe so strongly in their system, it’s straight get off the ball and rush. So I would be surprised if they pushed or hit Gronkowski. But I’ll tell you, tight ends, when D-linemen jam like that, it can really slow you down in your route because the clock in your head goes off. It’s a nice formula, but I don’t see Philadelphia doing it, I think they have a lot of confidence in their back end and their coverage ability."