With tight ends such as Rob Gronkowski and Jimmy Graham changing the way the position is played even more so than Tony Gonzalez and Antonio Gates it has become imperative that teams wanting to compete have an advantage at this position.
The Bears top two tight ends in 2011 had a combined total of 25 catches. Gronkowski alone had 17 touchdown
catches in 2011. The Bears must get better production out of this position in 2012 to compete.
A lot of the reason for the lack of production was the presence of former offensive coordinator Mike Martz. He refused to adapt to the times and still saw tight ends as purely blockers. New offensive coordinator Mike Tice figures to involve the tight ends more.
It is not like the Bears do not have talent at that position. Of the 25 combined catches in 2011 between Davis and Spaeth seven of them went for touchdowns. That is a pretty good ratio.
Quarterback Jay Cutler likes to use the size advantage of these two in the redzone. Both players pose difficult matchup problems for defenses because they are so big. Davis is a lot more athletic that Spaeth so he can be used in space a lot more. Spaeth was signed to be the blocking tight end Martz wanted and will still be used as such. His size will be utilized in the redzone, which will benefit Cutler a great deal.
Rookie tight end Evan Rodriguez figures is transitioning into an NFL tight end and will probably take some time to get acclimated. He is the tight end of the future and the Bears see him as someone who can create tons of matchup problems for defenses. If he can play a few snaps each game and contribute something it would be a huge boost for this offense.
Kellen Davis 2011 Statistics:
Receiving Yards: 206
Matt Spaeth 2011 Statistics:
Receiving Yards: 50
Evan Rodriguez Rookie