Who Steps Up With More Touchdowns?

July 21st, 2022

More red zone targets?

Joe doesn’t expect veteran tight end Kyle Rudolph to replace former (?) Bucs tight end foot-rubbing Rob Gronkowski’s production. Who could?

If you are just waking up, coming home from the bars, the Bucs signed Rudolph late Wednesday evening, which for Joe closes the book on foot-rubbing tight end Rob Gronkowski.

So somewhere else, if the Bucs have as powerful of an offense as they had last year, touchdown catches will have to be recovered. As Jenna Laine of ESPN pointed out, no team targeted tight ends in the end zone like the Bucs have since Tom Brady came to Tampa Bay.

Could Cam Brate and Rudolph combine to replace Gronk’s production? That’s a lot to ask. Gronk was targeted 166 times in 28 regular season games the past two seasons. Gronk caught 100 of those passes for 13 touchdowns for 1,425 yards.

In the past two regular seasons, Brate with the Bucs and Rudolph with the Vikings and Giants, the two combined for 164 catches with eight touchdowns and 527 yards.

So yeah, that’s a major hit in production with Gronk retiring, not even factoring in his blocking. Rudolph is an OK blocker. Brate is not a blocking tight end. Gronk is a crushing blocker.

So in Joe’s eyes, Bucs offensive coordinator Byron Leftwich is going to have to be very, very crafty in how he uses Brate and Rudolph somehow work in Ko Kieft, who by all accounts is a blocking tight end first.

Cade Otton? Joe cannot add anything there because he has yet to step on a practice field for the Bucs. So currently, Otton is a total wild card. He could be awesome this year, he could be a milk carton. We just don’t know.

So who replaces all of these touchdowns in the red zone with Gronk gone? Well, Joe has the easy answer.

Let Joe introduce you to Mike Evans.

13 Responses to “Who Steps Up With More Touchdowns?”

  1. Cobraboy Says:

    Rudolph may surprise as a receiver.

    It’s his blocking that concerns me.

  2. PassingThru Says:

    Funny, I just discussed this in the previous post.

    The Bucs are in trouble there. Evans is a monster, but Gage, Brate, and Rudolph? No way.

  3. SB Says:

    I took Kupp over Evans last yr.
    Think Evans may be worth drafting this yr.

  4. westernbuc Says:

    I would like to see an offense where Brady trusts the receivers we have and not force the ball to Gronk.

  5. SPARKY Says:

    Brady will find whoever is open. Just get open and be were you are suppose to be.

  6. BillyBucco Says:

    I agree with the logic and the picture honestly.
    100 receptions out of 166 targets is not a great ratio.

    Looks like he targeted Gronk on plays to “Bail” him out.
    I would much rather those balls go to Evans, Winstons bail out machine.

    Evans is gonna have a monster year for a lot of reasons.

  7. Kody Says:

    Kyle Rudolph?? Honestly, I’d rather have seen the Bucs put all their faith and energy into Cade and Ko. Cade especially could become a breakout TE star. He has the size and speed. Just need him and TB to work endlessly on receiving. By most accounts he has very good hands when working with a very good QB. And he and Ko can block.

    But at least with Kyle Rudolph being picked up, we know Gronk a day goes away.

  8. Rod Munch Says:

    “Could Cam Brate and Rudolph combine to replace Gronk’s production?”

    I think Evans could benefit the most, he could easily get 20 TDs this year if Godwin misses a few games (I think he’ll miss 6). Also I think you’ll get more TDs going to the RBs. Finally Brate will benefit, he’ll probably get like 7 or 8 TDs. As for Rudolph, I think he’s mostly washed up, but we’ll see, I hope I’m wrong.

  9. Rod Munch Says:

    Kody – Rookie TEs almost never do anything in the NFL, and I’m certainly not betting Brady’s healthy on a rookie TE blocking. I don’t have any faith in Rudolph, but you bring in vets for a reason. If they rookies are performing, then they’ll just cut Rudolph.

  10. Buczilla Says:

    Mike getting 18-20 touchdowns seems like a good bet unless Chris is back early in the season.

  11. UKBuccaneer Says:

    The offense is going to have to fire on all cylinders, because I think we’re in for a few shootouts if the secondary doesn’t improve.

  12. Craig Says:

    Kieft on a delayed screen will work well. He has better hands than you think, and is a ferocious blocker.

    Brate is still excellent at finding an open zone in the endzone. I doubt even Rudolph could have bigger numbers than he will because he has a rapport with Brady.

    Don’t know anything about Otton, though he will probably end up as one of Trask’s best receivers, back-up most of the season.

  13. Duane Says:

    ME13 is the answer. One of the best 50/50 receivers in the game, and underutilized with all the talent we have had. Would not sleep on Fournette either inside the 20.