Bucs Confident Cade Otton Will Improve His Blocking

May 10th, 2024

Bucs TEs coach pleads patience.

Maybe it is just Joe, but toward the final few games of the 2024 season, Bucs tight end Cade Otton appeared to turn the corner.

Otton played the best ball of his young career late in the season and into the playoffs. It was cool to see.

Still, Otton is a far cry from foot-rubbing tight end Rob Gronkowski when it comes to blocking. For that matter, Joe isn’t sure Otton is on the same level as O.J. Howard was pre-Achilles injury. And Howard wasn’t exactly Jimmie Giles when it came to crushing defensive ends and linebackers.

This week, Bucs tight ends coach Justin Peelle noted that for some young tight ends, it takes a while to figure out blocking. A big reason is blocking tight ends aren’t much of a thing in college football. Tight ends are basically little more than big receivers for many programs.

And learning how to block on the NFL level is a helluva task.

“Fatigue and technique,” is how Peelle summed up less-than-stellar blocking from Otton and others. “You have to remember how young these guys are. They are coming from college where a lot of times, they are not asked to [block].

“With kids coming out so early, they are still developing. They are still getting stronger. And then, yeah, there is some technique stuff that you need to work on.”

Peelle went on to explain how difficult it is for a guy who wasn’t much of a blocker in college.

“[Otton] is only going into his third year,” Peelle cautioned. “It takes some time to get that down. And you’re going to face some really good defensive players, especially in this division that you’ve got to have your technique right.

“You’ve got to have your strength. And you have to have an understanding of where you have to be and when you have to be there.”

Last year Otton played 97 percent of the offensive snaps, one of the most on the Bucs. Peelle ideally would like to whittle that number down a little to keep Otton fresh.

That, in turn, will help with his blocking, Peelle said.

“A lot of [blocking acumen] comes with experience and comes with reps which he’s gotten a lot of and I thought he got better as the year went on.”

Peelle didn’t want to get into specifics on techniques Otton must improve, saying if Otton wanted to share that, it’s up to him.

Joe thinks Peelle is right on. Playing nearly 100 percent of the snaps (1,064 not counting the playoffs) was too much for Otton. Still, if he was that fatigued, Otton didn’t seem to show it, at least not with catching the ball.

If Otton could improve his blocking, he’d become a damn solid tight end.

19 Responses to “Bucs Confident Cade Otton Will Improve His Blocking”

  1. Lt. Dan Says:

    Don’t sleep on Payne Durham. From what I understand he is a complete TE with his only short coming being elite speed.

  2. Doc Says:

    Blocking isn’t rocket science, I never understood why some guys struggle with it, especially at this level.

  3. Usfbuc Says:

    He improved for sure in year 2, hope he is able to add to that in year 3

  4. Tampabaybucfan Says:

    It Otton improves this year like he did last year, he’ll be a great TE. We need some production from Durham.
    I am disappointed we didn’t draft a TE instead of T Smith.

  5. Usedtocould Says:

    People that say blocking is easy have never blocked beyond a seventh grade level

  6. Pickgrin Says:

    Once you’ve watched even an aging Gronk block every game for a couple of years – No other TE can compare…

    Otten can definitely improve his blocking – but for a 4th rd pick – He’s been pretty damn good overall his first 2 years… Which is why he was on the field so much last year. Big drop off putting Payne or Kief in there as the only TE I guess….

    Is it just me – or did Kief seem to regress with his blocking last year? Thats the main reason he was drafted – and he got worse in year 2?

  7. Defense Rules Says:

    My guess is that Bucs will keep 3 TEs this year, and Kief won’t be one of them.

  8. TheBucsAnthem Says:

    He’s not big or strong enough to be an effective TE blocker in the NFL.

    He’s receiving TE…..simple as that

  9. Defense Rules Says:

    BTW folks shouldn’t sleep on Devin Culp. Teammate of both Cade Otton & Jalen McMillan. Not very big for a TE (6’4″ & 237 lbs), but quite similar to Mike Evans (6’5″ & 231 lbs) in both size & in that both have played basketball. Maybe the Bucs were looking beyond TE when they drafted Culp in Rnd 7?

  10. BA’s Red Pen Says:

    I think Ko’s gonna go.

  11. Pickgrin Says:

    DR – Culp is 6’3″ and only 231 lbs as measured at the combine – but he ran a 4.47 40. His 10 yard split and 35″ vertical jump were elite as well. Sounds like major mismatch potential against LBer coverage if he can catch – but he’s obviously not going to be asked to do much in-line blocking…. and he’s a rookie 7th rd pick so hard to expect much from him this year – if ever….

  12. Toad Bowels Says:

    Licht traded up to get Ko. Ko has had another year to bulk up in the weight room and learn blocking technique. He needs to put in the work to catch 500 balls a day from the Jugs machine, practice route running and work with any camp QB willing to work after practice to get in some extra reps.

    If Ko is willing to put in the work, then he will be much improved and he will make the team.

    Same with Durham and Culp. It’s a question who wants it the most and who is willing to work for it. Ko has a season More experience than Durham and two more than Culp so he has a leg up in the competition. But NFL means not for long so if he’s not willing to work for it, you guys are right, he would be the odd man out. I’m hoping co-works hard and we have a big year from the big Ginger!

  13. stpetebucfan Says:

    “Still, Otton is a far cry from foot-rubbing tight end Rob Gronkowski when it comes to blocking.”

    Indeed and yet there is no shame in that. I don’t know that I’ve seen a TE with a better combination of BOTH skills than Gronk. He was the man!!! At least we got to enjoy his final season.

    Like Joe I see another step for Otton and it just adds to the excitement at the potential for this offense.

  14. JimBobBuc Says:

    I guess I have a different view of Ko than others here. He’s much slower than Otton in his patterns and it seemed Baker led him too much, with a few balls just out of reach for Ko. I’m not saying he’ll make the roster over “Curly”, as I like Curly’s speed.

  15. D-Rok Says:

    Gronk needs to come back to Tampa and give these young TE’s a clinic on how to throw people out of the club.

    (Reference to a Pats-Indy game where Gronk drove a defender about 15 yards out of bounds. Gronk said the guy was talkin smack so he had to be a bouncer and toss the guy outta the game. Yes, Gronk got a 15-yard penalty but said it was worth it. Not sure what Belichick said…)

    Gronk was a devastating blocker. Is it any wonder our running game went severely south after he left? He was like a 6th OL on the field.

  16. rrsrqnc Says:

    A good friend of mine played in the league at tight end, this is his story

    I dont doubt these boys today ain’t peak
    But during my era, I had a monster every week
    One week it’s Carl Banks and LT
    Next it’s Tony Tolbert and Haley
    Never a week off, always top billing
    Here’s Rickey Jackson and Pat Swilling
    For a TE this junk wasn’t thrilling
    These dude came thru filling
    Thought I was done, no not quite
    Here comes Clyde Simmons, Seth and Reggie White
    Cornelius Bennett was bad dude, that came with a gift
    Under that wrapping is Bruce Smith
    There’s another tandem I can’t ignore
    Kevin Greene and Lamar Lathon were gonna roar
    There’s also Derrick Thomas…

    All Monsters like I promised 😁
    Week in and week out, you better put your helmet on tight

  17. BigBoiBuc Says:


    Why do you thing Culps 35” is “elite”? Durham jumped 34.5” and outweighs him by 30 pounds.

  18. garro Says:

    Please, coach Peele get hims some extra reps in the run game. He looked pathetic trying to block backers and DEs last year. I think it was more technique and a desire to hit somebody than it was fatigue. It was stated by Gronk that he needed the “want to” when he came to the NFL, so he worked hard at it. Same with Durham coach.

    Go Bucs!

  19. Bobby Says:

    Im rooting for him. Imagine if he became our Starting TE for next 10 years. This season, we need to see a huge junior in his progression as a young player. If Cade, Bucky and the O-Line play well all season. Then this team is a contender.