Today marks the last post about the offense of the Arizona Cardinals and their grades for the 2011 season. Monday graded the offensive line. I felt they earned a D on the season. The readers? 38 percent agreed with me and said D. However, that was not the winning grade. 42 percent graded the offensive line with an F.
Today, though, we move to a position that was thought have been one of strength coming in to the season -- the tight end position.
When the Cardinals drafted Rob Housler in the third round, there were high hopes for him, especially after his strong performances in the preseason and the comments of Ken Whisenhunt stating he had something different and special about him.
Todd Heap was a surprise addition. Jeff King was a solid move.
Jim Dray was here and contributed on special teams.
Unfortunately, injuries were the story of the position. Heap missed six games and only played two snaps in a seventh. Housler missed several games as well.
As for production, King was a surprise. He led the tight ends in receptions with 27 and three scores. Heap, after getting healthy, became productive and finished the year with 24 receptions and one score. Housler caught 12 passes and Dray caught two.
Housler, however, was supposed to have the best hands at his position coming out of the draft. In 24 targets, he dropped six passes, according to PFF.
The lack of production also can be blamed on quarterback play. On more than a couple of occasions either Housler or Heap were wide open down the field only to have Kevin Kolb or John Skelton just miss them.
So how do you grade a unit that was underutilized? King is known for his blocking. Todd Heap blocked well for the most part (although he did whiff on a key block against the Bengals) Dray played well on special teams.
King was pretty decent most of the year and Heap showed what we were missing once he got healthy at the end, so were it not for the time missed, I think the unit would have earned a B. They didn't miss enough time to get an incomplete, so overall I give them a C-. Their absences have to be factored in. Housler's drops are, too.
Now, this unit should be solid in 2012, but they could have done so much more.