The tight end battle — on both sides

Posted by Darren Urban on September 4, 2014 – 3:59 pm

John Carlson looked wonderful at tight end through the offseason and training camp, but he did not make a catch during his limited preseason time (save for a touchdown called back by penalty in the opener). This was brought up to Bruce Arians Thursday.

“Tight ends catch the ball against our defense all the time,” Arians deadpanned, before pausing.

“That’s what I read, anyway.”

Ahh, the tight end. It’s a position that, on both sides of the ball, definitely made things interesting in 2013. How it plays out this season, given the efforts to fix such issues, will definitely be something to watch. On offense, Carlson’s play in practice has been a revelation, the defense notwithstanding. His ability to catch the ball should mean a lot to an offense that needs such a weapon.

Does it mean he’ll get seven targets a game, necessarily? No, for the same reason he didn’t get any preseason grabs. “You don’t force balls to people,” Arians said. “You design things and you read them out. Sometimes he’ll get balls, sometimes he won’t. We don’t say ‘We’re going to get John Carlson five balls.’ It’s just not going to happen.”

On the other hand, it’s hard to think other teams didn’t do that last year with their tight ends against the Cardinals. It was definitely an Achilles heel in 2013. Asked if the Cardinals would be better against it in 2014, Arians said “I hope so.” Rookie safety Deone Bucannon is a player who is supposed to help, although one play in the preseason finale, Bucannon lost track of the tight end he was covering because he got caught looking at the quarterback. The tight end slipped only a few yards away, but made the catch and got a big gain out of it.

The Chargers have LaDarius Green, a 6-foot-6 raw target for one tight end and the ancient but still talented Antonio Gates at the other. Gates shredded the Cardinals in their last regular-season matchup, although it was 2010 against a totally different defense. It’s safe to assume the Cardinals know they need to be better in that area.

“We didn’t show it a couple of times in the preseason in zone defense, letting guys run behind us,” Arians said. “As far as man to man, we have some length now with Deone and other guys.”


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6 Responses to “The tight end battle — on both sides”

  1. By br in nc on Sep 5, 2014 | Reply

    Cardinal Fanatics
    Just for sake of discussion, fun, or just “gp” figured I would throw out some TE’s still available on the market, that would/might look good in Cardinal Red (knock on wood, we wouldn’t need to go searching the free agent market) but if we were in need aTE or two, here are a few that intrigue me:
    Andre Hardy – obvious first choice I would think, since he is on Cards practice squad.
    Tony Gonzalez – reading reports that there is a “pretty good” chance that he will leave the CBS Booth and sign later in the season, but only with a Championship contender. Tony G. is the best TE to ever play the game, would look totally awesome in a Cards Uni. Plus if he were to show up in Cardinal Red, it would mean we would be having a very good season!
    Dallas Clark – if not a HOF’er, he is pretty Dang close, IMHO I think he eventually gets into Canton. He signed a 1 day contract with the Colts a couple of months ago to retire, but I believe he is to competitive to not come out of retirement if the team is a contender and the money is right, but I think it is a longshot to see him a Cardinal.
    Ben Hartsock – has bounced around the NFL, primarily a blocker (and a very good one!) not much of a threat in the red zone, except as a blocker. He has only 1 TD in his career. IMHO, Hardy or a younger UDFA would probably be a better choice for Cardinals.
    Alex Smith – if my memory serves me right, I believe the Cardinals showed interest in him a few seasons ago. Nothing more than a average veteran addition (see Hartstock above)

    Anyone have any rookie free agent TE’s that look promising to them?

  2. By cardsalltheway on Sep 5, 2014 | Reply

    I debated picking Housler and/or Carlson on my fantasy team but I passed knowing if our TE’s do come through(for a change) I could always pick either one of them up in the future(it’s not like any of them are hot on the waiver wire/high on the draft list). Then again, I’ve been condemned(falsely) for being a faux Cardinals fan or not the right type of fan(hahaha) but let it be known I’ve chosen Carson Palmer, Fitz, and A. Ellington on one of my teams. I won’t start Ellington on that team Monday Night because of the “injury” and it’s usually not wise to start too many players on the same time any given week. On my other team, the only Cardinals player so far is A. Ellington but I’m still going to start him despite the “injury,” at least at this point.

  3. By Dynosoar on Sep 5, 2014 | Reply


    I think John Brown may be the most productive this year. He may be a good fantasy pick.

    As to faux fan, we have differing opinions from time to time, but I like the discussion those opinions begin. I also like a different take so I look at things a little different, research in areas I wouldn’t have looked at normally and learn more about our favorite team and players.

    If the injuries not too bad, Ellington may be the best RB this season, good pick ups.

  4. By hminus on Sep 5, 2014 | Reply

    Not too worried about our TE’s,[they are a much improved group,]…but opposition TE’s are another matter,maybe they fixed the coverage problems,i sure hope so,cause it was painful watching us get torched all season long by teams we SHOULD have beaten,[such as St.louis…]

  5. By T.Stone on Sep 5, 2014 | Reply

    Br in Nc

    RE: TE

    We tried that already. Todd Heap ring a bell?

  6. By Dr. G. on Sep 5, 2014 | Reply

    Well, here we are….It sounds like BA does not want to force the ball to a TE….duh… But it does appear he is forced to deal with this unique WEAPON of the ever-changing NFL…

    We want TE’s to BLOCK and maybe catch an occasional pass!? This 1st game perhaps will shed some light on this dilemma for our future offensive schemes.

    WE HAVE THE WEAPONS…PLEASE BA, USE THEM…USE THEM. I trust BA is just blowing some invisible smoke here…does he have a surprise in store for the league this year!…. Be well…

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