Five Reason Denver Broncos Tight Ends Will Be Forgotten in 2013
Tight Ends Will Have a Vastly Different Role in 2013
The Denver Broncos head into the 2013 NFL season in a very precarious situation: how do you keep everyone in the offense happy? This will be a very tall task for new offensive coordinator Adam Gase and quarterback Peyton Manning.
Last year, the Broncos ran 1,090 offensive plays which was the most in the league since 2000. With an explosive offense that hummed throughout an 11 game win streak to finish the season, it is highly expected for the Broncos to be even better this season because of the year experience for all involved.
Executive vice president of football operations John Elway has brought in WR Wes Welker through free agency on a two-year deal, and solidified the offensive line by signing G Louis Vasquez from the San Diego Chargers. It is safe to go on record saying the Broncos will have the best trio of wide receivers in the NFL this year.
With Welker joining Demaryius Thomas and Eric Decker, it may be also safe to say that the tight ends, Jacob Tamme, Joel Dreessen and Virgil Green may be the forgotten ones in the offense. In 2012, Tamme, Dreessen and then-slot receiver Brandon Stokley recorded almost 1,500 yards on 138 catches and 12 touchdowns.
While Gase has gone on record as saying that his offense will be even quicker this season, it may be at the expense of their tight ends as they become predominant blockers and safety nets for Manning, instead of primary short-yardage targets to keep the chains moving. Here are five reasons why the Broncos tight ends will be mainly forgotten in 2013:
The Offense Will Be More Up-tempo With Gase
If the Denver Broncos are going to have a more up-tempo offense than fans saw last year, then somebody's numbers in the offense will suffer. The most obvious players will be the tight ends. Gase will make sure plays are called for all three of his stud wide receivers in order to keep them happy.
As their happiness gets satisfied, the middle will be owned by Welker, and the tight ends will be used sparingly as short yardage first down markers. The touchdowns will inevitably be shared to the 2013 version of "The Three Amigos."
Running Backs May Need the Extra Help
With the draft still a couple weeks away, and no inkling as to the direction the Broncos are headed in the backfield, there is one thing we do know: the running backs will need help blocking for Manning. Whether Elway decides to stay with Willis McGahee, Knowshon Moreno and Ronnie Hillman, which is highly unlikely, or draft another running back, the Broncos will need the tight ends to pitch in to keep Manning healthy and upright.
Hillman is a liability blocking, and anyone that they pick up in the draft will have to prove themselves before Manning fully trusts them. Dreessen, Tamme, Green and anyone else they line up will need to utilize their abilities on the outside to stop opposing defenseman rushing the line. This in itself will take them out of too many plays to equal their stats from a year ago.
Manning Will Not Have Enough to Go Around
Peyton Manning has had some very good receiving corps in his time in the NFL, as well as quality tight ends that he loves to use. Yet, he has never had a trio of receivers with the talent that Thomas, Decker and Welker will show in 2013. While Manning loves utilizing the tight ends, they will be more a decoy than anything else this season.
It is just not feasible for the Broncos to line up these three receivers and not get them the ball as much as possible. This does not bode well for Tamme and Dreessen especially, as they might not be completely forgotten, but there is just not enough passes to go around to keep everyone happy. Manning will always throw to an open receiver, but does anyone believe that receiver will be a tight end?
Welker Will Be the Biggest Thief
As I stated in the opening slide, Tamme, Dreessen and Stokley combined for very good numbers while pounding the middle to open up the outside for Thomas and Decker. Welcome to the 2013 Denver Broncos, who have just acquired the best slot receiver in the NFL.
Welker caught 118 passes in 2012 while gaining 1.354 yards and 6 touchdowns. Those stats may waiver a little with Manning having to please everyone, but if you think that the receptions will go to Tamme or Dreessen before one of the other three, then you are sadly mistaken. Welker will have another huge year and the Broncos may find themselves with the biggest thief in the NFL.
Tight Ends Already Forgotten at End of 2012
The biggest reason that the Denver Broncos tight ends will be forgotten in 2013 is fairly simple: they were already phasing out at the end of 2012. In the final four games of the regular season and their playoff loss to the Baltimore Ravens, Tamme and Dreessen were almost non-existent in the Broncos offense. Tamme recorded eight catches over that span with no touchdowns. Dreessen manufactured six catches in their playoff loss, but only 12 catches and one touchdown the previous four games.
Welker will take at least half of those opportunities and Manning will continue the trend of forgetting about his tight ends. Tamme and Dreessen have solid hands and decent speed to plow through the middle, but there just is not many chances to go around when Gase still has to hand the ball off as well. Maybe Gase will surprise us all and find better opportunities for everyone involved, but it is almost a foregone conclusion that the odd men out will inevitably be the tight ends.