There's no question about it. I've had my complaints about Andre Caldwell. More specifically, using the same argument, I complained that Caldwell disappeared in the final ten games of the season where he averaged 2.7 receptions and 19.4 yards receiving per game. Furthermore, against the Lions and Jets, he was shutout. Then there was the fumble against Oakland with :41 seconds left in the fourth quarter during a 17-17 tie, giving Oakland prime field position at the Bengals 17-yard line. The heartbreak was complete as Sebastian Janikowski nailed a game-winning 33-yard field goal to beat the Bengals.
If you bleed the complaints into the preseason, he still hasn't caught a pass through two games.
Based on the argument in the FanPost, I wanted to make the counter-argument that I believe he makes the team.
After Chad Ochocinco and Terrell Owens, the Bengals are likely to keep Antonio Bryant and Jordan Shipley on the roster; though recent reports suggest that the Bengals could give Bryant an injury settlement and let him go. For the sake of argument, there's four on the roster.
With Caldwell and Jerome Simpson included, the Bengals have guys like Dezmon Briscoe, Quan Cosby, Matt Jones and Maurice Purify fighting for the final two spots on the roster. Simpson, Cosby, Briscoe and Purify have combined for five career NFL receptions and Matt Jones, who didn't record a reception against Denver, hasn't played a regular season game since December 7, 2008.
Even though Caldwell did have a frustrating disappearance in the second half of the season last year, he also 51 receptions, including two game-winning touchdown receptions against Baltimore and Pittsburgh. Without those touchdowns, one could argue, the Bengals don't even make the playoffs last year. Comparatively speaking, Caldwell's 51 receptions last year is more receptions than Bryant has had in four of his seven career seasons.
You could make the argument for any receiver on the bubble to make the team. Matt Jones is a veteran receiver with good top speed. Quan Cosby is one of those players you love because he simply does everything he's asked, and typically he does it well with full effort. Dez Briscoe is a rookie, so his ceiling is far more optimistic because we haven't seen his weaknesses yet. And God must love Maurice Purify because he simply doesn't go away.
But you could make several arguments for Caldwell. For one, experience. The team has a collection of receivers that are inexperienced or coming off a one-year vacation. For two, production. His 51 receptions last year is the third-most on this roster after Chad Ochocinco and Terrell Owens. And how many game-winning touchdowns did all nine receivers have combined compared to Caldwell? So yes, he did produce last year, though not at the level we had hoped. If you want, we could group the entire argument to keep Caldwell into one word. Insurance.
So yes. I understand the frustration with Caldwell. We've echoed that debate dating back to last year when we started noticing that Caldwell wasn't producing. That being said, my bet is that Caldwell makes the team. Furthermore, based on what happens with Bryant, he's even more of a lock.