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Jermaine Gresham earned the role of villain

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The inability to have any production out of the tight ends on offense, or the obvious issues covering tight ends on defense, continue being an issue that Cincinnati has been facing for years.

Jared Wickerham

Jermaine Gresham... you wanted the role of villain.

Well, you've earned it.

The fact is, prior to Sunday game against the New England Patriots, Gresham had been largely nonexistent this year. Insignificant even. Maybe Hue Jackson, who calls the plays, and Andy Dalton, who throws the football, are done with him. It would explain the six receptions coming into Sunday's game against New England. Through three games this season, he had yet to reach the 50-yard plateau... for the entire season.

It felt like Cincinnati was better for it too. Dropped passes weren't broadcasting the villainous, mustache twisting persona that Gresham is eager to embrace. There weren't many martyred tweets about "woe is me", "no one cares" comments about how people perceive him. It's not like these perspectives were born out of nowhere. They were developed over an extensive five-year sample that was more disappointment than celebratory.

During New England's 43-17 win over the Bengals on Sunday, Gresham was targeted four times, posting two receptions for 15 yards receiving. He was also credited with a significant dropped touchdown pass with 6:50 remaining in the second quarter.

Gresham Patriots GIF

Gresham Patriots GIF

Had Gresham scored the touchdown, Cincinnati reduces the deficit to seven points with over six minutes remaining in the first half -- along with having the ball in the second half, the Bengals were in position to recover.

The inability to have any production out of the tight ends on offense, or the obvious issues covering tight ends on defense, continue being an issue that Cincinnati has been facing for years. Patriots tight ends Rob Gronkowski and Tim Wright combined for 11 receptions for 185 yards receiving, each with a touchdown reception.

Night. Meet day.

It would be foolish to target Gresham as the only reason for Cincinnati's loss on Sunday. He's not. He's but one of several reasons. But he wasn't a solution either.