The Arizona Cardinals made it a point to address the tight end position this offseason. They re-signed Jake Ballard, added free agent John Carlson and drafted Troy Niklas in the second round. Rob Housler, who was a starter, is now pushed down the depth chart currently.
The result of the new players? Competition and improved play.
Carlson is getting praised. Palmer recently was on the radio, saying how excited he is to have Carlson. Palmer reiterated that again after practice on Monday.
Head coach Bruce Arians said Carlson "is having a great camp" and that he is very flexible in the ability to play both tight end positions.
Adding Carlson has improved everyone, too, because of the competition. Arians said that the tight end room now is "very NFL-looking."
Palmer noted how the addition of Carlson has pushed Rob Housler to be even better after a season in which big things were expected of him, which did not happen.
“The competition out there, there’s a lot of guys fighting for that roster spot," said Palmer. "That competition made Robbie better. Robbie’s looked better and Robbie’s really come into his own and hitting his stride right now, so the addition of (Carlson) and the things he can do for us is great, but the competition of that spot has really elevated the position for us.”
Niklas is still recovering from offseason hernia surgery, so we haven't seen anything from him yet. There is even athletic potential even after Housler. Andre Hardy and Darren Fells are big, fast and athletic.
Arians depends a lot on his tight ends in the running game and in the passing game. It is certainly early, but it might be the most talented group the team has ever had.
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