Finding another Freddie

Posted by Darren Urban on May 13, 2011 – 11:36 am

In 2002, the Cardinals signed tight end Freddie Jones as a free agent. He had a good start to his NFL career while in San Diego, and he was an upgrade at the position. Turns out he was necessary that season too, because starting receivers Frank Sanders and David Boston each suffered injuries (as did MarTay Jenkins and Bryan Gilmore, the No. 3 and 4 guys) and with green wideouts like Jason McAddley and Nate Poole forced to play, a tight end was incredibly important.

So, for the one and only time since the Cardinals moved to Arizona, a tight end – Jones – was the team’s leading pass catcher in a season. Jones had 44 receptions for 358 yards and one touchdown that season. Jones was even better the next season, with 55 receptions for 517 yards (that was Anquan Boldin’s rookie year, though, with 101 catches). And in 2004, Jones had 45 receptions for 426 yards.

By 2005, though, Jones was gone. And the Cards have been searching for a tight end since.

As of now, that hope rests with third-round pick Rob Housler out of Florida Atlantic, a speedy 6-foot-5 H-back type who should be able to stretch the field. His blocking needs work, something he admitted already, but it would help to have a quality receiving option in that spot.

Since Jones left, it’s been a lot about hope unfulfilled. The undrafted tandem of Eric Edwards and Troy Bienemann was the first attempt. Then Leonard Pope was drafted, and while he flashed a couple of times, it was clear after 2007 and coach Ken Whisenhunt’s first season he wouldn’t be the answer. Ben Patrick – whose contract is expiring — also flashed a few times as a seventh-rounder (especially with his TD catch in the Super Bowl) but he never has made a huge impact and never had more than 15 catches in a season.

Granted, in the Warner years, using three- and four-wideouts made more sense, especially when the wideouts had the talent that the Cardinals did. Whisenhunt made clear Housler could be split wide at times and create mismatches, however. And, as many fans have pointed out, when you are breaking in a younger quarterback, the safety valve of a quality tight end can help with the learning curve.

Housler will get a chance to show what he has, and there is a chance the Cards also look in free agency. Jim Dray should be back, and Stephen Spach could be too; Patrick may be more iffy depending on who else is signed. The Cards will have at least four tight ends in training camp.

We’ll see if any of them can, at the very least, echo Freddie Jones.

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Posted in Blog | 35 Comments »

35 Responses to “Finding another Freddie”

  1. By Scott McDonald on May 13, 2011 | Reply

    Looks a lot like Rod Tidwell…

  2. By D on May 13, 2011 | Reply

    Depending of free agency rules, if Boss from NY is available, go after him…if not him, then go after the blocking TE from Cincy

  3. By JoeVero on May 13, 2011 | Reply

    Hey Darren-
    Since Alan Faneca retired, is he allowed to talk to the team? Just curious 🙂

  4. By Darren Urban on May 13, 2011 | Reply

    JoeVero —

    RE: Faneca talking

    A great question. I do not know.

  5. By VikingsFan07 on May 13, 2011 | Reply

    Keep Housler — watch his film, the guy is good.

  6. By Big Red on May 13, 2011 | Reply

    Get John Skelton’s brother what a tentem. His a tight end that on the free agent market. You can’t go wrong.

  7. By MikeFlorio on May 13, 2011 | Reply

    ZACH MILLER!!!!!!!!!!!!

  8. By adamant on May 13, 2011 | Reply

    Is Todd Heap available? I know he has a young stud named Dennis Pitta behind him at TE in Baltimore.I also would echo ZACH MILLER!!!!!!!!!

  9. By AndyStandsUp on May 13, 2011 | Reply

    I don’t see how Housler could be considered a TE/H back if he has difficulty in blocking. IMO, he’s a big WR that could be thrown in the spread packages.
    The Cards haven’t had a true franchise TE in their history. Jay Novacek was close, but he was more like Housler and his success came mostly in Dallas. Chris Gedney was a possibility, but ownership turned that into a bloody mess.
    As far as Faneca being able to talk to teammates, I originally thought that if he’s filed his retirement papers, yes, but Favre signed his after the Jets and still inked with the Vikings the next season, so I’m unsure of the legalities in this strangest of off seasons.

  10. By Brandon LA on May 13, 2011 | Reply

    jazz hands!

    great stuff in the john lott piece. it really seems like the players are missing out right now.

  11. By seven q on May 13, 2011 | Reply


  12. By louie on May 13, 2011 | Reply

    some of you guys must not watch football. john skeltons brother isw a joke…we need a veteran at tightend and should have never got rid of boldin.
    shockey would be a good choice
    and we need a good #2 wide reciever

  13. By Scott H on May 13, 2011 | Reply

    Wow…hard to believe we actually had a decent pass catching TE who was actually involved in the offense as recently as 2004. Because it seems like it’s been lomger than that. I don’t know why this team – for going on 10 years – avoids using the TE like a super model avoids cake. Makes no sense to me, especially when so many other teams who also have dynamic passing attacks employing the TE with great success. It would be one thing if we used the TE as a blocker for the running game and the result was a dynamic running game. But that also hasn’t happened for about the past decade. Ya know, it was great when Kurt was here and he was at the top of his game and we didn’t need a TE or a great running game. But that party is over. It’s time to look at what teams like the Colts and Pats are doing, where EVERYBODY on the field is a part of the offense and it helps the QB tremendously. OR, maybe we could just get Tom Brady…

  14. By James on May 13, 2011 | Reply

    Has Spach or Dray been to any of the Fitz workouts by chance? Interested to see if either of them have been involved with the “unorganized” team activities thus far? Thanks!

  15. By Darren Urban on May 13, 2011 | Reply

    James —

    RE: Spach/Dray

    I haven’t been to those workouts so I don’t know.

  16. By Kevin on May 13, 2011 | Reply

    What is everyone talking about? Spach dropped like ONE pass that was thrown to him last season and it was a terrible throw by one of the several mediocre QB’s that the Cardinals had on the field in one season. The dude blocks like a beast, works hard, and 99% of the time catches the ball if it is not thrown WAY overhead (multiple times last season) or directly to the defender (at least once last season). Goodness people.

  17. By trent on May 13, 2011 | Reply


    you guys need to fix the behind the pick patrick peterson video it stops at 1:41 into it

  18. By Darren Urban on May 14, 2011 | Reply

    Trent —

    RE: Video

    It seems to be working fine on our end.

  19. By Eazy E on May 13, 2011 | Reply

    Zach Miller, Bo Scaife, or Kevin Boss in that order. Let’s go cards, we need a franchise type TE for real. We need a guy the defense is scared of and threatened by.

  20. By Eazy E on May 13, 2011 | Reply

    At TE of course.

  21. By Haggis Bob on May 14, 2011 | Reply

    Short list of ‘potential’ free agent tight ends:

    Kevin Boss (UFA) = NY Giants
    Scott Chandler (RFA) – Buffalo
    Desmond Clark (UFA) – Chicago
    Brad Cottam (RFA) – Kansas City
    Owen Daniels (UFA) – Houston
    Daniel Fells (UFA) – St. Louis
    John Gilmore (UFA) – Tampa Bay
    Tory Humphrey (UFA) – New Orleans
    Darcy Johnson (UFA) – St. Louis
    Reggie Kelly (UFA) – Cincinnati
    Jeff King (UFA) – Carolina
    Marcedes Lewis (UFA) – Jacksonville
    Randy McMichael (UFA) – San Diego
    Zach Miller (UFA) – Oakland
    Bear Pascoe (UFA) – NY Giants
    Ben Patrick (UFA) – Arizona
    Leonard Pope (UFA) – Kansas City
    Gijon Robinson (RFA) – Indianapolis
    Dante Rosario (UFA) – Carolina
    Martin Rucker (RFA) – Dallas
    Bo Scaife (UFA) – Tennessee
    Derek Schouman (UFA) – St. Louis
    Alex Smith (UFA) – Cleveland
    Stephen Spach (UFA) – Arizona
    Matt Spaeth (UFA) – Pittsburgh
    Jonathan Stupar (RFA) – Buffalo
    David Thomas (UFA) – New Orleans

  22. By Brandon LA on May 14, 2011 | Reply


    K. Rhodes mentioned on nfl dot com that his biggest concern was not having the time to learn the new plays and schemes. To your knowledge do the players ever organize study sessions among themselves?

  23. By Darren Urban on May 14, 2011 | Reply

    Brandon LA —

    RE: Study sessions

    That’s tough to do without coaches. For instance, they will be trying to learn a new defense of Ray Horton. But without Horton, it’s tough. The other defensive coaches are going through that learning right now.

  24. By bones on May 14, 2011 | Reply

    Freddie Jones?

    Really, I’m pretty certain that if our top 4 receivers get injured, any one of our TEs will have 40-50 catches. And, with Whiz’s unwillingness to run the ball, I’m sure some washed-up QB will be throwing at least 50 times a game. So there should be plenty of receptions to go around.

  25. By Jon L. on May 14, 2011 | Reply

    I think Kevin Boss would provide the Cardinals with a big body and a force in the middle of the field. They should definitely pursue him.

  26. By joe67 on May 15, 2011 | Reply


    Please don’t say “the Cards have never had a true franchis tight end in their history”. Maybe in AZ, but a guy by the name of Jackie Smith was was known as one of the best ever. J V Cain was good to, but past away suddenly and prematurally.
    Sure hope Housler works out.

    Great job Darren.

  27. By AndyStandsUp on May 15, 2011 | Reply

    My apologizes. Don’t know how I passed over Smith in my thinking.

  28. By seven q on May 16, 2011 | Reply


  29. By jocards on May 16, 2011 | Reply

    @ AndyStandsUp

    Isn’t Jackie Smith in the HOF?

  30. By jocards on May 16, 2011 | Reply

    @ AndyStandsUp

    Didn’t see your reply to joe67 until after I posted my comment…And for the most part you are correct, the TE postion has not given this organization a lot of production through the years.

  31. By Jeff on May 16, 2011 | Reply

    I’ve been saying that for weeks Cards should look at Zach Miller…He will be a free agent when lockout ends…He has led the Raiders in Receptions since his arrival in Oakland. Bring him home!!!

  32. By brad oneill on May 16, 2011 | Reply

    another novacek would be more than we could hope for. if he learns to block he may be our best 3rd round pick since wilson.

  33. By joe67 on May 17, 2011 | Reply


    Thank you but not necessary. Probably before your time. He was always one of my all time favorites. Watched him carry three Eagles (one on his back and two draped around him) from the ten yard line to score a touchdown. Just happened to be in that corner of the end zone. I will never forget it.

  34. By cards62 on May 17, 2011 | Reply

    I so much wanted to start the Kyle Rudolph Fan Club for us, but since that dream ended with the draft I hope we pick up Zack Miller out of Oakland.He has done a very good job and been a professional during tough times in Oakland. I like Mercedes Lewis, Jacksonville talent, but do not know much about him as a person or teammate. Anyone have knowledge of Lewis?

    Thanks and go Cardinals

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