On 2011, it was hard to tell if the quarterback play was the biggest reason for the lack of production from the tight end position or if it was all the injuries. Todd Heap and Rob Housler missed significant time being hurt. Jeff King, brought on to be a blocking tight end, was the biggest producer with 27 catches and three touchdowns.
This season, hopefully all stay healthy and there is greater production, but the roster is mostly set.
There are three sure-fire locks on the roster at the position. First is Todd Heap, the local product brought on after he was cut by the Ravens last offseason. There is King and also second year player Housler.
The team is expecting big things from Housler on the receiving end because he has the size and speed to be a threat in the mold of Aaron Hernandez and Jimmy Graham. But he has to be a more steady blocker to be able to stay on the field.
Heap wants to be an every down player and is the most equipped at it if he isn't hurt, but that has always been the knock on him.
King will be there.
The possible fourth roster spot will be a battle between three guys -- Jim Dray, Steve Skelton and Martell Webb. Dray is a big special teams contributor, so he has been around because of that his first two seasons on the team, and it will be an extra factor in his favor. Skelton has the body type. Webb is big, at 6-3 276.
What will be key to see in the preseason? Look for Heap and Housler in the seam. Look to see if the quarterbacks can hit them down the field when they are open. That was troublesome a year ago.
Look for Housler and his blocking -- at least to see if it is anything like blocking.
Look for Heap staying healthy.
The position has talent and depth. Hopefully it shows in 2012.
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