Reports are that Denver has spoken with former Cleveland Browns tight end, Gary Barnidge. I’m cheering for this to end in an inked deal with the Broncos. Why? Because even though we signed Jake Butt, to be realistic, it takes about a year for a player to be able to perform at 100% (see Heuerman). While Jeff Heuerman improved greatly as last season wore on, AJ Derby and Virgil Green our other TEs, didn’t.Not sure if it was coaching, quarterbacking or lack of talent, but this position group, needs help to improve the O.
Tight Ends may be the real unsung heroes for an offense. Look around the league. TE’s are making things tough all over the NFL, even against our No Fly Zone. If a team can get a big body who isn’t terrible at catching, he requires two defenders. People think our run defense was poor, but stopping TE’s, was our real problem area.
Look at the data: through week 7 in the NFL in 2016, 69 TDs had been recorded by 39 TEs while 209 TDs by 103 WR’s.
Those TEs weren’t just using their hands, they were blocking for the run and pass. Want to see a QB having a good year or a good game? Go look at the play of their TEs.
Alex Smith, the dink and dunk King, actually spent a couple weeks on the top of of the air charts, all when Travis Kelce had good games.
He caught 75% of any balls thrown his way. Guess which TE is ranked second? Kelce now has a sidekick who started climbing the stats, Demetrius Harris. Instead of using him as a back-up, they played he and Kelce together. Caught us without an answer for this 6’7” giant. This season, Denver needs to be ready for them using not only two, but three TEs.
The teams who had top ranked TEs, but their offense struggled, had TEs who were only good in one category, not all three, which includes, receiving, pass block and run blocking. Case in point is Greg Olsen. When he played, he was ranked number one; however, he ranked in the bottom end of pass protection. What happened with Cam Newton as a result?
Tyler Eifert of the Bengals reached as high as third, but his pass blocking was down in the land of danger, danger code red. How’d his red headed QB do?
Virgil Green was ranked with a tie at 30th in all around performance. Barnidge at 25. Barnidge did much better at catching and pass protection, while VG did much better at run blocking.
Not only could Barnidge offer an extra pair of hands, he was ranked the NUMBER ONE pass protector. I’d line him up next to Garett Bolles. That’s not usually done, but it could help the young LT. If a rookie is actually going to play LT, having someone as good at blocking for the QB as Barnidge, can’t be overlooked or understated. If Siemian wins the starting position, he’s going to need an extra layer of bubble wrap because he’s not the most durable of QB’s. If newbie Lynch starts, he can take a pummeling much better; however, he may need a little extra time to diagnosis defenses. That won’t happen for either QB if Bolles struggles.
As far as our other young TE’s, extra vet presence will help to mentor them. In addition, in a pass happy offense, we need more hands. With BIG bodies attached.
His evilness, Belichick himself, is always ahead of the rest of the league. If BB* is doing something, if he has players excelling in a certain category, then you better believe he’s hit a secret formula. When he’s got two healthy TE’s, he uses the snot out of them. This gives his two WR’s not only a reprieve, but less coverage. Can Barnidge and Heuerman be a one-two punch until Butt is able to be produce?
Want to know why San Diego scored so many points? Hunter Henry. Teams had to focus on him. He helped Melvin Gordon and even gave life to Antonio Gates because of this.
When Atlanta was on fire, 12th ranked Jacob Tamme was in no small part why the team succeeded. Make no mistake, teams played Atlanta with an eye on him. His catching was ok, but his run blocking helped Devonta Freeman and Coleman, which helped Matt Ryan’s offense fly.
Tennessee, who for weeks, had Marcus Mariotta as a bottom ranked QB, ended up climbing the stats. Guess whose ‘new’ TE finally started clicking? Anthony Fasano may not be great at catching, but blocking? He’s a beasty beast, followed closely by his pass protection. The Titans started winning. Marcus did better, too.
If you want to see which teams clicked offensively, look at their TEs and their OL. The WR numbers don’t always correlate to the success of their teams, but TE and OL play sure do. Same for RB. Of the top ten WR’s, only four made it to the playoffs and only two won a PO game.
Want an offense to be aggressive, besides having a feisty QB? Have a strong TE and RB group. With the addition of Jamaal Charles, and drafting Hop, Elway seems to have checked RB off his list. OL appears to be a checked list, as well. TE? Not so much. The addition of Barnidge would check that last box. Here’s to hoping Gary gets to play on the only good team that wears orange.