It's really nonsensical of me to give a whole preview chapter to the tight end position, but it's because I got lazy. I was going to throw the tight end preview at the very end of the receivers preview, but it was late at night when I'd finally reached the end to that one, so I stopped there. Then I figured I could squeak in a TE preview at the end of the offensive line preview, but the same thing happened. Except I wasn't tired; it was just that lunch was ready.
Hence this abbreviated preview snippet (that is, before that opening paragraph it was abbreviated), in which all I really need to tell you is that Jerramy Stevens is our starting tight end. Which is not to say it'll be a cakewalk for the favorite son of Olympia (which, coincidentally, is where I am right this moment).
Stevens had off-season knee surgery; we still don't know how much this will affect his training camp duties. Although Stevens caught the Seahawks' only touchdown in the Super Bowl, he also had three key dropped passes, which many Hawks fans seem to recall more acutely than the TD.
But before all that, Stevens had a very good year in '05. He's a towering 6'7" presence on the end of the line. A few have suggested that with the loss of Joe Jurevicius (which I still maintain was nowhere nearly as damaging as many thought), Stevens could mature into a solid touchdown target in smashmouth passing patterns. There's no controversy as to whether he's the #1 guy at line's end -- just whether he'll recapture the momentum he had going last year.
Second stringer Itula Mili no longer figures as a key competitor for the starting job, as he did before last season. In fact, Mili had almost no impact in 2005: two games, no receptions. He was hobbled by an achilles tendon problem earlier this year. I've heard not a peep about Mili in ages.
Former Buccaneer Will Heller will see some action in the position at camp. I suppose he's Mili's most formidable competition. Also on the training camp roster are Matt Henshaw, Brock Edwards, Keith Willis and Mike Gomez.