Hometown: Ardmore, OK
You would think if your tight end makes the Pro Bowl two out of his first four years, the team and fans would be happy with the player. In the case of Jermaine Gresham, the Bengals showed their support by drafting another top tight end and the fans rage on about every mistake the guy makes.
While it may be tough for some to look past the false starts or occasional fumble, here are some stats that should give you notice. Gresham has been targeted in the red zone 40 times. Of those 40 passes, he has brought in 28 of them. That is a 70% catch rate in the red zone.
That is higher than every tight end in the league. On top of that, Gresham has never dropped a pass in the red zone. 16 of those catches were touchdowns. (thanks to Coley Harvey for the stats)
Many fans can't get past the two really bad drops Gresham had in the playoff game in Houston a couple years ago. They are burned into the memory and helped to highlight the eight other drops he had that season. Last year however, Gresham only dropped 3 passes.
He also usually ranks among the tight end leaders in broken tackles and yards after catch.
The case for Jermaine Gresham this season has a twist. Currently he is recovering from a hernia surgery and there is no time line on his return. On top of that, he is in a contract year and it could be the case where the Bengals just can't afford to keep the tight end next season.
I expect the Bengals tight ends, Gresham in particular, to be a huge part of this offense this season. With the supporting cast the Bengals have in the running game to go with the talent at receiver, Gresham is another powerful weapon for the Bengals on the offensive side of the ball.