Target Percentage Will Tell A Story

July 22nd, 2022

Tight end Cameron Brate

It’s impossible to argue with hard, indisputable data.

And that’s the kind of stuff spit out by the NFL via its NextGen stats, which are drawn from technology in equipment.

This number comes from NextGen, but it’s more old school. Among tight ends running at least 175 routes last season, only two were targeted at a higher percentage per routes run than Rob Gronkowski.

Translation: Brady loves throwing to Gronk. He went Gronk’s way 25 percent of the time Gronk ran a route. Just behind Gronk was Travis Kelce of the Chiefs (24 percent).

So can Cameron Brate or newcomer free agent Kyle Rudolph earn that kind of trust from Brady, or that kind of separation from defenders?

Brate caught a woeful 52.6 percent of his targets last season, after hauling in a beastly 82.4 percent in 2020. Rudolph has had consistent hands through his career, but keep in mind he caught a lot of balls — for years — from the likes of Christian Ponder, Teddy Bridgewater, Sam Bradford and Case Keenum, and last year he was on the field with Daniel Jones and Mike Glennon.

Joe doesn’t know if Rudolph is gassed like Richard Sherman was, but there sure is a great chance that playing with quarterback like Brady will revive his career in a hurry.

24 Responses to “Target Percentage Will Tell A Story”

  1. Tampabaybucfan Says:

    Double Gronk-a-day……let’s go for the trifecta….

    If Gronk isn’t in the title, he’s still the subject of many of the articles….

  2. Maniac Buc Says:

    @Tampabaybucfan, I’ll take this one. These kind of Gronk articles make sense because you talking directly about his replacement. This is one of those, such and such thinks Gronk retirement is fake articles.

    SN: I would prefer if no one ever mention Gronk, Suh or JPP name ever again. Neither will ever put a Bucs uniform on again, so people let it go, pleeeeaaaaase

  3. Maniac Buc Says:

    I meant this is not one of those Gronk articles.

  4. Jason Says:

    So what. I like lol😁

  5. GOB Says:

    Rudolph’s catch % for the last three years.
    It’s fair to blame the drop in 2021, on who was throwing him the ball. The giants had a historically bad offense last year. As to how much Rudolph has left, who knows. He will certainly benefit from having the best QB in history throwing to him. I think 40-50 catches, for 4-500 yards is certainly in the conversation. Rudolph has always had a knack for getting open, and Brady loves to utilize the position.

  6. Craig Says:

    If Rudolph and Brate have good catch percentages to start the season, they will split Gronk’s 25%.

    If one catches all of the first few, they will get the lion’s share.

    Brate seemed to have a hitch in his step last season that might have caused problems, but he was also better defended than usually. That might have been from that same hitch.

    Later in the season either Kieft or Otton will sneak up on the other two.

    There are so many other options that the biggest thing will be how they are defended and who can adjust routes for zone coverage. Two deep safeties was Brady’s Achilles heel last season, hope it looks better this season.

  7. Cobraboy Says:

    I don’t recall Brate dropping a lot of passes in 2021.

    I get Gronk was a GOAT favorite, and for good reason.

    But that does not mean the rest were chopped liver.

    There is only one football, and only the QB gets to determine where it goes.

  8. Goatfarmer Says:

    Brate isn’t that old and we know he’s healthy for the first time in a while
    coming into the season. So I expect a rebound from him.

    Cmon Cam!

  9. GOB Says:

    Brate at his best is a backup TE. If the rookies show promise, his days in Tampa are numbered.

  10. captivajim Says:

    I think Rudolph will turn out to be targeted more than Brate–but it may take 4 or 5 games for he and Brady to get in synch

  11. Cobraboy Says:

    Casuals have claimed Brate’s days in Tampa are numbered since he first got there…

    He’s had a solid career and will retire On The Bubble™.

  12. Defense Rules Says:

    Sounds like NextGen provides some awesome stats Joe. Didn’t know that stats existed that could break out when receivers were running routes versus when they were blocking, but that’s cool.

    Cam’s outlasted Lovie, Dirk & BA. I agree with Cobraboy that he’s had a ‘solid career’ (not HOF material, but still solid), and with GOB that he’s really a backup TE, not a lead dog. Never been known as a great blocker, or even as a great receiver (65.9% career catch percentage isn’t horrible, but it’s not spectacular either … OJ’s averaged 66.1% in his career, and he didn’t exactly get glowing accolades here).

    Cam did quite well IMO in 2016-2018 (20 TDs in 3 yrs isn’t too shabby), but he’s gotten less and less usage these past 3 yrs. He was on the field for only 37.5% of the offensive snaps in that timeframe, and was only targeted 12% of the time he was on the field. TDs fell off a bunch (only 10 TDs in 2019-2021), but then again, he was targeted a heckuva lot less too (Gronk being here might’ve had something to do with that?).

    Still, he’s a survivor, so he must’ve been doing something right.

  13. sasquatch Says:

    Could easily see Rudolph have a mini revival with Brady if he still has the legs to get himself open.

  14. Chris Tucker@Apple Roof Cleaning Tampa Says:

    We might actually be better w/o Gronk. Several times I have seen Brady target Gronk, when our other receivers were open.
    I think it would be fair to say Brady favored Gronk.

  15. hoops Says:

    Brate was given credit for targets that weren’t catchable and had several that should have been pass interference. Glad he’s healthy and like others have said to have lasted this long he must be doin something right. Go cam Go Bucs.

  16. GOB Says:

    Chris, at times, the offense was too Gronk centric. I also noticed him forcing the ball to gronk, when others were open. It was a comfort thing for Brady. Gronks catch radius was so big, and he knew exactly where Brady wanted him. I’m actually excited to see how Brady will distribute the ball without him. Brady always use to hit the open reciever, no matter who he was. I think we’ll see more of that this season.

  17. Kody Says:

    Brate ain’t great. We all know that. My hope is the rooks Cade and Ko outshine Brate in every way.

  18. Bucsfan13 Says:

    How do you know when others are open? Are people watching the All 22 film? Do they know the progression on a particular play? If a guy is open and you don’t trust them because they haven’t given you a reason to, would you keep tossing them the ball? I will agree Brady and Rodgers are old school QBs and take trust very seriously. They won’t continue to throw you the ball if you don’t practice well and have had issues reading coverages and catching the ball. Rodgers particularly has been hamstrung from the lack of trust in his receivers and it costed him the SF game. He only trusted Adams and Jones all game!

    This is Brady’s final season, so he might go YOLO like Winston. It seems like some fans wishes he took that attitude.

  19. PassingThru Says:


    You have to trust your eyes, and even then I find myself reviewing certain plays after a game is over. It’s tough to follow what 22 guys are doing on the field in real-time, and trying to diagnose plays based on summary statistics can yield very misleading conclusions.

    In addition, I’ve wondered about stat collecting by NFL Next Gen, PFF, etc. that is based on individual player performance. It’s a black box. As an example, something that seems straightforward like “Separation” really isn’t. For TEs and WRs, how do they measure on Next Gen? Do they measure only when the pass is thrown to them? That might inflight the separation number significantly. A smart route runner might get some pretty good separation on some receptions (particularly zone), but that pass-catcher might be someone you cannot rely upon as they don’t get open on a consistent basis (or they simply drop the pass). I have a pretty decent quant background, but I trust my eyes more than many of these stats because I know there’s observer bias, poor situational context, coverage, blocking assignments, and shoddy data collection practices.

  20. Goatfarmer Says:

    Cobra, I’m with you on Brate. He is still clutch. He was clutch against the Jets, 4th down TD grab wasn’t easy. And the refs robbed him of a @st down in the final TD drive against the Rams in the Todd Bowles Bowl. Too bad that wasn’t a first because maybe they could have ground down the clock a bit more and spared Todd his last cerebral hemorrhage.

  21. Bucsfan13 Says:

    @Passingthru. I agree completely. There are some analysts that I trust for honest, unbiased analysis. JT O’Sullivan and Kurt Warner’s channels on YouTube are great. They give great All22 film analysis. What I like most about Warner is that he’s not afraid of calling out players.

  22. David Says:

    I think the slip and Brate’s catch % is simply lack of use. I think the slip in Rudolph is obvious because of where he played. That offense was absolutely atrocious.
    Between the 2 of them and the rookies getting a little love, the TE room will be fine.
    I am more concerned about getting a healthy Godwin and Gage in there with Evans

  23. Ed Says:

    In 2020, it seemed that Brady relied on and tried to work with Brate because he knew Gronk would need maybe half a season to literally get up to speed.

    I remember how Gronk was mostly used for blocking and deliberately used “sparingly” for quite a while until he (Gronk) started to make some of those awesome Gronk-plays; and Brady, who’s the head coach his own crew said: okay, he’s back, and now I have two receiving tight ends.

    The point is: in 2021, it was “all Gronk” from the start, and imo, Brate was forgotten about and never really got in the groove; in fact, last year, it seemed like Brate had forgotten his route half the time. It didn’t seem like he was “in the loop,” …probably because he wasn’t.

    Well, this year Brady needs to rely on Brate once again.
    Let’s see if “we see a pattern here” and Brate becomes a standout with the Buccaneers again.

  24. DavidBigBucFan99 Says:

    You can blame Cam’s drop on Coach My Scheme Arrogance. He made no use of TEs outside of blocking and Cam was never good at that. If he was one of ATMs favorite receivers along with Evans and had 20 tds in 3 years shows the man can get open but then Brady came them Gronk and we all knew who was gonna get that ball thrown to. Maybe Kelce is the only TE who wouldn’t have disappeared with Gronk in the mix. Cam showed his value in 2020 now’s the chance for him to show it again