There were very, very few bright spots on the offensive side of the ball for the Arizona Cardinals on Thursday night. The Cardinals could not run the ball (again) or pass protect (again). One bright spot that is continuing to emerge is Tight End Rob Housler.
Housler was drafted by the Cardinals in the 3rd round last year. Housler is seizing the opportunity to play on passing downs while Todd Heap is injured. Housler has caught multiple passes in each game Heap has been out. In the three games Heap has been out, Houser has seven catches for 111 yards. Only Larry Fitzgerald and Andre Roberts have more receiving yards than Housler. His 14.8 yards per catch leads all Cardinals receivers.
Housler’s ability to stretch the field is very similar to the way New England Patriots Tight End Aaron Hernandez stretches the field. There are similarities in the way the two tight ends play. Both players excel in the passing game using good hands and uncanny speed for the position. Both players are more comfortable lining up away from the offensive line or in the slot position. The Cardinals hope Housler develops into the receiving threat that Hernandez already is.
The numbers for Housler, which are good, don’t tell the whole story. Quarterbacks Kevin Kolb and John Skelton have missed Housler deep on multiple plays in 2011 and now in 2012. In the game Thursday night, Houser beat the defender deep on a seam route but Kolb under threw him instead of leading him into the endzone. Housler is a big play threat that can get open, but has been victimized by poor throws deep down the middle of the field.