One of the newest trends in the NFL is teams drafting big tight ends that can catch the ball and run like a wide receiver, but stand tall and block like an offensive lineman. Players like Jimmy Graham and Jermichael Finley fit the role quite well.
The Cardinals will get to see two players made in that mold this weekend when they visit Massachusetts to take on the Patriots. Rob Gronkowski and Aaron Hernandez are two of the biggest pieces of the puzzle to the Pats' offense.
The Cards are hoping to get a similar result from sophomore tight end Rob Housler. But it will be awful hard for him to show his worth if he can't get on the field.
Last week against the Seahawks, Todd Heap got most of the snaps at the tight end position. He was on the field for 70% of the offensive plays, 47 in total. As for Housler? He saw a total of six snaps.
With his speed and athleticism, it would benefit Arizona to find more time on the field for him. We saw him turn on the afterburners last week when he caught up to Leon Washington and pushed him out of bounds, making a tremendous special teams play. These are the types of things Arizona is missing out on when they don't have him on the field.
Then again, Heap looks to be in his comfort zone when he is on the field for extended periods of time. He is a better route runner than Housler and a far superior blocker. That reason alone is why Housler's snaps are so limited.
But with Kevin Kolb being the starting quarterback this week, it would make sense to play Housler more. He can provide a safety net over the middle that Kolb can bail out to.
What do you think about these stats? Would you like to see Housler on the field more or is he a liability? Tell us in the comments section below.
Thanks to Pro Football Focus for the statistical information