One of the 78 other players lost in all of the Terrell Owens buzz (obviously Chad hasn't been lost in the buzz), is Bengals backup tight end, Chase Coffman. Where has he gone? Is he even in camp? Hell, is he even with the team? I asked around about him. Where is he, I would ask. The question is legit, if not with high curiosity value. Look at it this way. Once Jermaine Gresham comes to camp and gets into the flow of things, the team has a chance to put two very good pass-catching tight ends on the field at the same time, allowing double TE formations. With that formation, alongside Chad Ochocinco and Terrell Owens lining up on the sidelines, the Bengals could have four threats in the passing game in a formation in which teams will have to heavily account for a Cedric Benson hand off.
Geoff Hobson writes that Chase Coffman not only is back, but he's tougher than last year and his progress is deeply encouraging. During Saturday's Oklahoma Drills -- a man-on-man battle between a defensive player and offensive player -- Coffman "mixed it up well in a college all-star showdown with linebacker Roddrick Muckelroy, Texas’ all-time leading tackler. He also staved off another college tackling machine who is having a nice camp, Duke free-agent linebacker Vincent Rey."
Bengals Tight End coach Jonathan Hayes is encouraged:
Leave it to tight ends coach Jon Hayes to put that first day in pads in perspective. There is a long way to go here. But Hayes, who played 12 seasons in the NFL, likes the direction he’s headed and he’s getting plenty of work in the first five practices with first-round pick Jermaine Gresham in a holdout.
“It’s not a determining factor because everyone is knocking off the rust,” Hayes said of Day One. “You do things you might not have done the year before and that’s good for him. It gives him confidence to build and grow. I’m anxious to see how he keeps going this summer."
Hobson would go on to describe a play during practice:
“I’m just trying to stay outside the numbers and get open and it happened that the safeties rolled the right way and Jordan came to me,” Coffman said. “There was a little bit of contact there and I think that’s something that helps me get open is a little bit of contact. For me, especially because I’m not as fast as receivers, being a little bit bigger and little bit physical in and out of routes, that can help you with a little bit of contact as long as you’re not doing anything illegal. He was trying to jam me and I just got around him.”
Marvin Lewis says that Coffman will play during next weekend's Hall of Fame game. I know what you're thinking -- holy crap, that's next week?