The tight end position is an important one in the offense the Arizona Cardinals run. Bruce Arians likes to have two tight end sets, which gives the offense flexibility as to what they can do -- they can run or pass out of the formation without giving much away.
The position doesn't have to be super productive, but it helps. 2014 was tough for the tight ends. John Carlson dropped a bunch of passes. Rookie Troy Niklas kept getting hurt. Good things happened, too. Rob Housler improved in his blocking and made roughly one big play per game down the stretch. Darren Fells developed into a good blocker nd reliable target.
With Housler an unrestricted free agent, that leaves three guys from last year on the roster.
Arians said he is "really excited' about the position heading into the 2015 season and might only go with those three guys.
"Troy is going to be a good player, we've got to keep him healthy," he told reporters last week. "I thought Darren made the step. He made the step to the NFL, now can he make the step as a consistent, everyday player. But his December-January play was really good. Made some catches, made some blocks."
After fan speculation that Carlson would be let go in the offseason, it appears the team is planning on keeping him around for a second season.
"I think John lost his swagger a bit after a couple of dropped passes," Arians said. "The guy never drops passes, but it gets in your head. We talked about it in his exit interview, I think he'll come back better than ever."
Would the Cards go with only three tight ends? Probably not. Each of the two seasons with Arians as head coach, the team has carried four on the roster, although three has been the typical number he keeps active on game day. He said a fourth guy would have to be versatile and play on special teams.
Arians also said in the draft the team could try and add a tight end that is more versatile -- a player who is "potentially a fullback, H-back guy."
Will the tight end room look more or less like it does now, with Carlson, Niklas and Fells? Who will be that fourth guy? Will it be Ted Bolser, the newly signed Ofeanyi Momah or a rookie they add? Are you as excited about the position as Arians is?