PITTSBURGH, PA - DECEMBER 04: Brandon Tate #19 of the Cincinnati Bengals returns a punt against the Pittsburgh Steelers during the game on December 4, 2011 at Heinz Field in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Jared Wickerham/Getty Images)
It's not Armon Binns. Nor is it Marvin Jones, Mohamed Sanu or any of the team's undrafted free agents. Wide receiver Brandon Tate has spent much of the offseason working with the first team offense, including Tuesday's session during Cincinnati's three-day mandatory minicamp. Joe Reedy with the Cincinnati Enquirer observed that Tate "lined up with the first unit offense and continues to have a solid run of offseason workouts." According to Carlos Holmes with the Dayton Daily News, Tate "broke (Dre) Kirkpatrick down like a double-barrel shotgun on a double-move to break free" on Tuesday.
But it's not just about Tate either. This team's collection of wide receivers excites the coaching staff and the starting quarterback.
Tate and Binns' production, at least early on, has all but eliminated the need for the team to sign a veteran wide receiver (read: Braylon Edwards), according to Bengals offensive coordinator Jay Gruden:
"I don't see the need for another guy," Gruden said after Tuesday's practice. "There are a lot of veteran guys out there who aren't as smart as these young guys. That's a fact.
"The receivers we have now, I would be thrilled if they were injury free and ready to go. I would be very surprised if somebody didn't pan out."
Even Bengals quarterback Andy Dalton feels comfortable with these receivers, via tweet from Reedy:
"We’ve got talented guys that understand the game of football. Maybe they haven’t played very much, but they’re going to surprise a lot of people."
Dalton thinks that the collection of receivers currently on this team projects the allowance for A.J. Green to have more help during his own routes.
"He’s going to have a lot of help. With the guys that we have, it doesn’t matter who’s in there, I know they’re going to be in the right spot," Dalton said. "I know that they have a good feel for the game. They know when to sit in holes, when to run through things. It’s been a lot of fun out there practicing with them."
Either way there's going to be a receiver or two that hits the street, or at the very least make the team's practice squad. And here people were concerned about the team's situation at No. 2 wide receiver after Jerome Simpson's departure in late April. But then can such revelations be absorbed in mid-June?