TE may be deepest position on Cardinals offense
July 17, 2012: Q&A with tight ends coach Freddie Kitchens
The Cardinals report to training camp in Flagstaff one week from today.
And today, we begin a two-day look at two of the team's main positions---other than the obvious position of quarterback, heading into the 2012 season.
Here now is a Q&A with tight ends coach Freddie Kitchens, entering his 6th season on staff:
Update the status of Jeff King, who missed all of mini-camp and the OTAs after suffering a partially torn quadriceps tendon
"The prognosis on him is that he's going to be back at some point during training camp. I'm not too concerned with him. He's going to work his tail off and do everthing he needs to do to get back."
Injuries hit the tight end position hard last season---King was the only player to suit up for all 16 games while Rob Housler played 12 games, Jim Dray and Todd Heap each played 10 games
"I think on a year-to-year basis, I mean, sometimes you get hit by injuries, sometimes you don't. There's a fine line there between being able to fight through something and not being able to fight through it. Year-to-year you hope that you stay healthy, just last year at our position we didn't."
A lot of people have pegged Housler, who caught 12 passes for 133 yards last season, as their breakout player in 2012. How do you see his progress heading into his second year?
"Rob continues to work everyday and he's definitely gotten better. He just needs to come to the field and get better everyday; and if he does, he'll be the player that we thought he could be.
"Rob needs to play. There's no substitute for experience. He just needs to get experience and seeing different looks. A lot of times running routes and things of that nature is like taking a picture with a camera, a bunch of pictures in a row. Until you get those pictures in your head, you don't have anything to relate it to. He needs to get those pictures right now."
Based on the depth at the position, could we see more two tight end sets?
"There's teams across the league that's evidence of the advantage that it gives you. If they want to go sub (package), they got little guys on the field with bigger guys, especially the couple of guys that we have that can run just as well. If they want to stay big then of course you've got an athletic advantage on them.
"That's one of the trends now is to go with those big tight ends that can run and things like that. I mean across the league, in the draft and everything else is because they do create mis-matches."
Again, based on the depth, could the tight end be looked at as the so-called #2 WR?
"I've never gotten really into #1 receiver, #2 receiver, #3 and all that kind of stuff. The tight end definitely can be a factor. But, each given play, I mean, you have a #1 guy, a #2 guy and things like that; and that switches up during the course of a game. Our receivers are continuing to work. They're getting better and better and better and the tight ends are too and we'll see how it plays out."
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