The Arizona Cardinals started the 2012 season in a promising fashion, with four straight wins that included victories over the Seattle Seahawks and New England Patriots. But a nine-game losing streak followed, and the team finished 5-11 as four quarterbacks made at least one start.
Lost in that dismal campaign was the solid emergence of tight end Rob Housler, who had 45 receptions for 417 yards over 15 games played (nine starts) in his second NFL season. Arizona’s dismal quarterback situation helped keep him out of the end zone, and his numbers surely would have been better overall if Ryan Lindley and Brian Hoyer didn’t combine to start five games. The Cardinals made a bold move to address their quarterback situation this offseason by acquiring Carson Palmer from the Oakland Raiders, and he is an automatic upgrade even if he is no longer in his prime at age 33.
Arizona released oft-injured veteran tight end Todd Heap before last season ended, so the door is open for Housler to take over as the team’s starting tight end right out of the gate in 2013. The other tight ends the Cardinals may bring to training camp (Jeff King, D.C. Jefferson, Jim Dray and Kory Sperry) look likely to compete for two spots on the 53-man roster and are no threat to beat out Housler for a roster spot or take over his expected role.
General manager Steve Keim and new head coach Bruce Arians have both taken the opportunity to praise Housler this offseason, and it will be interesting to see how he is used in an Arizona offense that needs a second good option in the passing game to go along with Larry Fitzgerald.
Brad Berreman is a contributing writer at Rant Sports.com. Follow him on Twitter @bradberreman24.