With a competent quarterback (Carson Palmer) under center and a head coach (Bruce Arians) with a penchant for airing it out calling the shots, most believe Arizona Cardinals wideout Larry Fitzgerald stands to benefit the most from two of the organization’s biggest offseason moves in 2013.
But he might not be the only offensive weapon who reaps the reward.
Both in Pittsburgh and Indianapolis, a prevalent theme in Arians’ offense was the use of the tight end down field.
From 2007-2011, Steelers tight end Heath Miller caught 217 passes for 3,012 yards to go along with 20 touchdowns, and also made his first Pro Bowl appearance.
And last season, Colts’ rookie tight ends Coby Fleener and Dwayne Allen caught 71 combined balls for 802 yards.
It’s a trend that Arians is apparently trying to continue in the Valley.
“I won’t complain when there are three tight ends on the field, because we can run a lot of plays out of that,” Cardinals tight end Rob Housler said. “We didn’t do that too much in the previous years, we kind of started sprinkling it in. But now it’s definitely a staple of our offense and you can definitely see it on the field.”
While Housler isn’t the only talented receiver in a deep stable of tight ends — Jeff King, Jim Dray, D.C. Jefferson, Mickey Shuler and Kory Sperry — going into his third season, the former third-round pick knows that with increased opportunity comes increased responsibility.
And, it’s something the former Florida Atlantic standout isn’t taking lightly.
“It’s a big year for me, completely internally,” said Housler. “I’m not worried about what anyone else is saying about me because if I don’t have the highest standard, I’m not doing right by myself. I have really high standards and really high expectations going into this year.
“It’s great to some into this year with some fresh faces and kind of restart. There’s been a lot of good, positive energy so far.”
In 2012, Housler led all Cardinals tight ends in catches (45) and receiving yards (417) but was held out of the end zone.