Rob Housler seems set as head coach Bruce Arians' number one TE but he has had a quiet preseason so far. That's not all his fault though. Arians wanted to look at other tight ends and see what they can do. The concerns about his blocking seems to have subsided.
"It’s more blocking and I think he’s improved tremendously,” Arians told azcardinals.com. “He’s had some he could have finished better, but I think he’s improved in his all-around. We know he can run and catch. We’ve got a bunch of packages where we can feature him. He’s a given to me. I don’t need to see that part.”
The Florida Atlantic product had a fine season for the Red Birds with 45 receptions for 417 yards. In two NFL seasons, he has yet to find the end zone. He should be a reliable target for quarterback Carson Palmer but it's important that he continues to improve his blocking skills.
There are questions at tight end after Housler. Jeff King is second on the depth chart but he is still having issues following knee surgery and his future with the club may be in doubt. Jim Dray, the University of Stanford product, is also in the mix. The former seventh round draft pick has always been a fine special teams player and has the ability to be a fullback/H-back in Arians' system, which gives Dray extra value to the Red Birds.
Five-year NFL veteran Kory Sperry and rookie D.C. Jefferson are also in the mix to make the squad. Sperry played just one game for the Cardinals last season after previous stints with the Chargers and Dolphins. Arians seems to like what he sees in Sperry so far.
Jefferson is a project but has some raw talent. The Rutgers product was drafted in the seventh round by the Red Birds in May's NFL Draft. He's someone to keep an eye on.
Housler looks like the clear cut starter but who will back him up? That question remains at this point but preseason is not over yet. There is still time for someone to shine and make an impression.
But they better not wait too long – the NFL season commences in a little over two weeks.
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