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Thursday, September 12, 2013

Tight Ends Going Off

There were 21 touchdowns by tight ends in week one.  Five guys had two each.  Jared Cook went off.  Julius Thomas went off.  Jordan Cameron looks legit.  Vernon Davis continued his performance from the post-season. 

Just a crazy week for tight ends.  There were a few disappointments with Zach Sudfeld, Brandon Pettigrew, Fred Davis, and Kyle Rudolph... but in general it was a great week for the position.

A few guys emerged, specifically the aforementioned Thomas and Cameron.  We also saw renaissance performances from Kellen Winslow II and Dallas Clark.  It's hard to decipher what is real and what is merely a flash in the pan, so let's delve into a few of these guys just a bit.

Julius Thomas - He's finally healthy, he's got an amazing QB, and his athletic ability rivals any tight end in football.  The pre-season worries that I had seem silly now.  I worried about the other two tight ends on the roster and I worried about the triumvirate of wideouts that Peyton would have to feed.  It looks obvious now that Thomas will be a key piece of this offense going forward, though I do still wonder if he will have to compete with Wes Welker on short routes.

Tyler Eifert - Andy Dalton threw the ball to his tight ends ten times in week one.  His tight ends made ten receptions.  Eifert is better than Jermaine Gresham.  Andy Dalton is deadly accurate and has a relatively weak arm, which means lots of pinpoint shorter routes, slants, and crossing patterns.  The lack of Andrew Hawkins in this offense leads me to believe that Gresham and Eifert will continue to get tons of quality looks.  As a rookie, Eifert will keep getting better and better.

Kellen Winslow II - He's very injury prone, but he's also healthy-ish right now.  He's the best weapon on that offense by a mile.  As long as he is healthy-ish, he will produce as a focal point of the Jets offense.

Dallas Clark - Okay, Clark is hard to figure out but I do know at least a few things.  First and foremost, he was a street free agent about three weeks ago.  In week one the Ravens were facing a Broncos defense that lacked Elvis Dumervil and Von Miller and weren't getting a big push up front.  That led to a lot of dumpoffs over the middle, most of which went to Clark.  He also dropped an easy touchdown that hit him in the hands at the one yard line.  The bottom line is that we have an older guy that is unpredictable on a fairly unpredictable offense.  I gotta think you've got better options.

Jordan Cameron - The Norv-fense makes superstars out of tight ends.  Is Jordan Cameron as good as Antonio Gates?  Well, maybe not... but don't be too fast with your assessment.  What if Cameron is 90% as good as Gates?  If so, he's a Top Ten guy and well worth your time.  I believe that is the case.