Working In The Tight EndDecember 14th, 2012
In recent years, the tight end position was too much of a target for the Bucs and quarterback Josh Freeman. With selfish Kellen Winslow always barking for the ball, Freeman telegraphed passes to him on virtually every other pass play worse than Samuel Morse.
This became a problem for several reasons. One, the zebras were always looking for Winslow to push off with his fading skills and, sometimes, there were phantom calls. Second, Freeman was forcing passes to Winslow when he was double-covered if not triple-covered.
Third, Joe remembers Bucs rock star general manager Mark Dominik saying in Greg Schiano’s interview with Dominik and Team Glazer the very first words out of the coach’s mouth were that Freeman was forcing way too many passes to Winslow.
If a college coach could see this, so to did the most inept of defensive coordinators.
So when Winslow was jettisoned, Freeman all but was forced to wean himself from throwing to the tight end. But that has changed recently, so writes Nathan Jahnke of ProFootballFocus.com.
Over the past four weeks, the Buccaneers have worked on making the tight end a bigger part of their offense. Over the first nine games the Tampa Bay tight ends averaged 3.9 targets per game, but over the past four that has increased to 7.8. In fact, 46% of Dallas Clark’s targets and 53.8% of Luke Stocker’s targets have come in the past four weeks.
Now this is good and this is bad. The good comes in when Clark is targeted. In recent weeks, Clark has shown he still has the goods to be an effective receiver. The bad is Stocker. Now Joe has nothing against Stocker in any way shape or form. It just seems as if Stocker will always struggle to be an average tight end. He has a bad case of the dropsies at the very wrong times (is there a right time to have the dropsies?) and seems to be more of a blocker than a receiver.
Joe wouldn’t be surprised if the Bucs go after a tight end with, oh, say their third-round pick in April.
Joe has a hunch just about every Bucs fan knows what position Dominik will draft with his first round pick.