Bucs Central

State of the Buccaneers: Tight Ends

Kellen Wilsow

Winslow first year with Bucs was a positive one.

In the coming days, Bucs Central will address the different areas of the Buccaneers offense, defense and special teams by taking a look back on the 2009 campaign and looking forward to the 2010 offseason and beyond. From potential cap casualties, re-signings, free agent signings to draft picks, that could have quite a huge impact on the upcoming season and seasons outside of just 2010. Areas that have already been discussed are quarterbacks, running backs and wide receivers.

The addition of Kellen Winslow, was viewed as a desperate attempt to settle the masses during free agency. After the team failed to land the most coveted prize, in DT Albert Haynesworth. In the end it was one of the few moves that actual worked for general manager Mark Dominik and head coach Raheem Morris. Winslow set franchise marks for receptions and yards by a tight end in a single season with 77 catches and 884 yards and tied his career best mark with five touchdowns grabs. Overall, the unit was not involved in the passing game as heavily as some had hoped.

2009 Roster

Kellen Winslow — B+
Winslow who many were skeptical of, turned in a solid season and looks to be a valuable piece of the puzzle moving forward, broke both the franchise mark, for receptions and yards by a tight end in a single season. Proved well worth the second round pick general manager Mark Dominik traded away to acquire the services of Winslow. Now only if offensive coordinator Greg Olson can get him involved earlier in games, he could actual surpass his totals from last season.

Jerramy Stevens — F
After the addition of Winslow last season many had higher hopes for Stevens. Stevens however failed to deliver the baby. While not necessarily all his fault considering the quagmire the team faced at quarterback throughout the ’09 campaign. It would not be a stretch to see the team sign a player that is a more polished and effective blocker at the point in two tight end sets.

John Gilmore — F
Gilmore is considered a solid in-line blocking option with deceptive receiving skills. But age and injuries could be a concern moving forward and he might be in danger of losing his spot to a younger player that offers a little bit more upside in 2010.

Ryan Purvis — Inc
In season call up from the practice squad after the team placed Gilmore on I.R. showed decent hands in preseason contest and might battle for the teams blocking tight end spot with Gilmore in 2010.

2009 Summary

Inconsistent play from the teams carousel of quarterbacks contributed mightily to the production level of the tight ends in ’09. With another year under his belt as offensive coordinator, Greg Olson should be able to find a way to incorporate two tight end set on a  more regular basis. But whether or not its his goal to run more two tight end sets remains to be seen.

Off-Season Goal

The teams goal should be finding a way to get Winslow more involved in the passing game from the onset.  Winslow proved to be  dynamic addition to the roster and a player worth feeding the football too. Depth and play making ability out of the number two spot could also be a priority this off season, although not necessarily a high priority. The team might still look to upgrade its depth

Best Case Scenario

The Bucs find a gem in the late rounds that can contribute right away or Ryan Purvis takes on a greater role in 2010. Ideally, the team is not in bad shape at the tight end spot. But with age and injuries always a concern with regards to depth and long term potential. If a player warrants or is viewed as a substantial upgrade, over Gilmore or Stevens for a reasonable price, then the team might look to make some changes.

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