Jermaine Gresham NFL Stats
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Jermaine Gresham NFL Game Log
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(Compared to other TEs)
Arizona Cardinals Team Injury Report
Gresham was resigned to waiting out the 2015 free-agent market until he proved the health of his back, landing with the Cardinals just before training camp. Over the course of the campaign, he played second fiddle to tight end Darren Fells and managed career lows across the board. Despite disappointing results in the box score, Gresham opted to stay in Arizona on a team-friendly one-year, $3 million contract last offseason and didn't disappoint, hearkening back to his time in Cincinnati. As Fells fell out of favor and the oft-injured Troy Niklas again landed on IR, Gresham emerged as the No. 1 TE, corralling 37 of 61 passes for 391 yards and two touchdowns in a complete 16-game slate. Gresham thus parlayed a bounce-back campaign into a four-year, $28 million deal from the Cards to serve as their unquestioned top tight end, which will be the case with Fells moving on to the Lions.
Gresham heads into his second season in Arizona as the No. 2 tight end behind Darren Fells. Although he missed just one game in 2015, Gresham's offseason was devoted solely to his recovery from a procedure to repair a herniated disc. As a result, his production fell off a cliff (18 receptions for 223 yards and one touchdown) from his days with the Bengals, and a similar line isn't out of the realm of possibility with Fells and 2014 second-rounder Troy Niklas also on the roster.
Since the Bengals tabbed Gresham in the first round of the 2010 NFL Draft, he more or less held up his end of the bargain, posting 40-plus catches, at least 400 receiving yards, and four or more touchdowns in each of his first five campaigns. That feat was only matched by Antonio Gates and Greg Olsen, but disturbing developments accompanied Gresham's 2014 season, namely a career-low 7.4 YPC and only two receptions greater than 20 yards. To make matters worse, Gresham sustained a herniated disc in his back in Week 17 that forced inactive status for Cincinnati's playoff loss to the Colts and eventually required offseason surgery. As a result, his status remained in flux until his tour of organizations settled on the Cardinals, who offer the correct mix of opportunity (Darren Fells leads the existing tight ends with 10 appearances) and familiarity (Gresham reunites with the quarterback, Carson Palmer, from his rookie year).
Gresham's stats dwindled to career lows last season with the arrival of rookie Tyler Eifert and groin, abdomen and hamstring injuries that forced him to miss two games and part of a third. After averaging 90 targets in his first three years, Gresham's targets fell to 67 last season with Eifert garnering 59. Eifert had more work in the red zone and averaged more yards per catch and per target than Gresham. Both were good after the catch – Eifert averaged 6.26 yards after the catch (second among qualified TE) while Gresham averaged 6.13 (fifth). With A.J. Green stretching the field and drawing the defensive attention, the tight end in the Bengals offense will always have room for production. The Bengals will again use plenty of two-TE sets, but Gresham is in the last year of his contract and could take a backseat to Eifert, a first-round draft pick in 2013.
Gresham improved his targets, catches, yards and yards per target for the second consecutive season and finished in the top 10 among tight ends in both receptions (64) and receiving yards (737) last year. But the Bengals still saw fit to draft Tyler Eifert with their first-round pick.
It's too early to tell how Eifert's role will impact Gresham, but Gresham has the edge in experience and chemistry with Andy Dalton, which should go a long way. At 6-5, Gresham is a big target in the passing game and has improved his route-running the last couple seasons. After A.J. Green, the Bengals don't have another top-shelf wide receiver, something that should continue to afford Gresham steady targets from Dalton.
The Bengals loosened the reins on Gresham last season, and the second-year tight end showed healthy improvement, benefiting from Andy Dalton’s surprising play. Whereas in his rookie season Gresham was limited mainly to short routes, he increased his yards per target by almost a full yard last season and posted 10 receptions of 20-plus yards after not recording one in his first year. While his receptions increased by only four to 56 (though in one less game), his yards increased by 125 to 596. He also scored six touchdowns, seventh among tight ends.A lanky tight end at 6-5, Gresham uses his length to make for a big target in the passing game. He saw 14 red-zone targets, seven within 10 yards of the goal line. Gresham also improved at the nuances of his position, running sharper routes and creating more separation. A hamstring injury cost him two games, but he was consistently targeted in the passing game with at least five targets per game. Gresham is still developing, but his upside is obvious. A better rapport with Dalton this season and greater emphasis in the passing game could pay off big.
The 2010 first-round pick battled through a late-season knee injury in a steady if unspectacular rookie year. Big and athletic at 6-6, 260, Greshman was excellent after the catch, using his size and skills to break tackles and gain solid yardage after contact. In fact, more than 76 percent (359 of 471) of his yards came after the catch. The way the Bengals used him, though, perhaps stifled his production. Greshman mainly ran short routes (5.7 YPT), depriving him of the opportunity to make plays downfield. And oddly, considering his size, the Bengals only targeted him nine times in the red zone all season. Perhaps that will change this season with last year's top two receiving options leaving town and a trio of young wide receivers left in their wake. The Bengals are unsettled at quarterback, but even if Carson Palmer doesn’t return it wouldn’t be all doom and gloom if rookie quarterback Andy Dalton took over – he'd likely lean on his tight end as a safety valve.
Gresham suffered a season-ending knee
injury before even taking the field for a game in
2009 for Oklahoma. Despite the injury, the
Bengals took him with the 21st overall pick and
have been pleased with his progress so far in
camp. He lacks elite speed but is a polished
receiver and elusive enough after the catch to
make an impact immediately for the Bengals. To
secure the starting spot he'll have to improve
his blocking, something Chase Coffman couldn't
do in his rookie season last year for the Bengals.