The NFL offseason is on hold pending the battle between players and owners in federal appeals court, but that just provides more time for reflection on the current state of the team. Today I continue my position by position review of the 2011 Bengals by taking a look at the tight ends.
Last season, rookie tight end Jermaine Gresham showed some flashes as he finished the season with 471 yards and four touchdowns. His backup, and a personal favorite of Carson Palmer, Reggie Kelly, is an unrestricted free agent who never quite got all the way back from his ruptured Achilles tendon injury. Chase Coffman has yet to see the field much, though he did play decently in the final game last season. The team also claimed Garrett Mills off of waivers from the Eagles late last season.
Best case scenario: Gresham proves he can stay healthy long enough to be a stud tight end in the NFL. It would be nice to see more of the potential Coffman showed at Missouri.
Worst case scenario: Gresham continues to get hurt, and Coffman stays in Jonathan Hayes’ doghouse.
Another Possibility: I could see the team picking up a veteran to help out the youngsters, someone in the Reggie Kelly mold, but they may only go with two if Jay Gruden’s offense doesn’t feature the tight ends.
Outlook: Gresham could be headed for a breakout year, but injuries could get in the way. He does have all of the skills needed to be productive, so I look for him to build on what he started last season. Coffman is a question mark, but signs point to his NFL career not lasting past the first contract.