Tight Ends. Bengals. A collection of words when combined brings little to the imagination, if not a frustrating sigh heard through the city, or Bengaldom, as some call the Bengals fanbase. It's not pretty. Take the tight ends on the Bengals roster and the most productive and experienced tight end we have is Daniel Coats. I know. Scary. Right?
|Career numbers by tight ends signed on the Bengals roster in 2010.|
One Tight End that the Bengals were willing to take a look at this week came off the free agency board over the weekend. On Saturday, the Seattle Seahawks signed tight end Chris Baker to a two-year deal worth $4.7 million. The Bengals have appeared at college Pro Days the past week with notable tight ends, such as BYU's Dennis Pitta and have expressed interest with USC's Tight End Anthony McCoy. While suspiciously knowledgeable about a certain team's needs or even interest in a certain player, many mock drafts have the Bengals drafting Oklahoma's Jermaine Gresham, who is often considered the most talented tight end in the draft. Though, even that is somewhat arguable, considering he had surgery last year to repair torn cartilage in his right knee.
There's also still a possibility that the Bengals could bring J.P. Foschi back to generate competition at the position. And lastly, there's been very little chatter about the former Bengals tight end Reggie Kelly. Little has been said about the Bengals; even less has been heard from the 31 other NFL teams.
However, one person is often being disregarded. Maybe it's justified. What we saw last year was unimpressive, to say the least. However, I know there's a small part of you that can't totally disregard him because of the circumstances. You understand, because you're smart. When a Tight End plays like a wide receiver for most his collegiate career, how fair is it for us to tell him to line up as a pro tight end and be awesome?
Chase Coffman came into Cincinnati as a project, if you will. Considering the Bengals already had their blocking tight end in Reggie Kelly and their receiving tight end in Ben Utecht, Coffman wasn't expected to make much of a difference his rookie year. You could see it during Hard Knocks when Coffman's blocking skills were showcased and required a lot of work -- if not a project that could last a season, if not two. Either way, Coffman, at best, would be the team's third tight end and guys like Daniel Coats would have been released on cut-down day and J.P. Foschi is never signed.
That didn't happen.
Unfortunately for Chase, both of the team's primary tight ends went down to season-ending injuries within a few days of each other. Would it have been nice if Chase could step up and haul in 50 receptions, over 500 yards receiving and a few scores? Absolutely. Was it fair that we expected that his rookie year after playing a position that was really more like a receiver than a tight end? Absolutely not. He just wasn't ready. As a result of the team's injuries, Coats was upgraded as the team's starting tight end and Foschi was signed off the streets.
So maybe in the end, the Bengals will elect to give Chase a shot. Maybe he's put on some weight, bulked up, added "decent blocker" to his NFL resume. That's all we want. Get in the way of a defensive end on a run and stretch the middle of the field on a pass. We don't know if he's close. We're not even sure where he's at. But maybe, just maybe, the Bengals will push Chase up the depth chart and get him on the field, rather than using a draft pick or signing an inflated backup tight end.