Ben Utecht is a Cincinnati Bengals Tight End. While it might not be the signing of a lifetime, nor will a Tight End change a stale offense by himself, the Bengals are finally with a legit pass-catching Tight End that's been called for for several years. From the moment head coach Marvin Lewis joined the Cincinnati Bengals, Tight End production has dropped. After Reggie Kelly, Tony Stewart and Matt Schobel caught 58 passes in 2003 and another 46 in 2004, Tight Ends haven't accounted for more than 37 receptions since.
2007 - Reggie Kelly and Ben Coats
2006 - Reggie Kelly and Tony Stewart
2005 - Kelly, Stewart and Matt Schobel
2004 - Kelly, Stewart and Schobel
* Schobel scored four touchdowns in 2004.
How will the Bengals use Utecht? It would appear that Utecht would be used as a backup Tight End. That's not saying much though. Kelly's contribution in the passing game will likely remain as a blocker while Utecht could split linebackers over the middle -- something the Bengals haven't had with Chad Johnson and Chris Henry running deeper routes while T.J. Houshmandzadeh is in the aims of linebackers underneath. Kelly often lined up in the backfield to keep Carson Palmer protected. Utecht would be the standard Tight End lining up on the line and running routes, mostly seam routes over the middle and underneath.
Is there concern? The one thing that I can see happening is that the team declares their intentions. It's no secret. Bob Bratkowski's offense tends to be predictable. Downs and distance are typical red flags. Now if the opposing defense sees Utecht trotting on the field, how much of the Bengals game plan will mix up run/pass with him on the field to avoid predictability?