Originally Posted by Riddle_Of_Steel
Becuase we are already taking advantage of other mismatches-- Hines Ward and Mike Wallace verses whomever is stuck covering them, Randle El verses the nickelback or linebacker. We could design plays that take more advantage of Heath's talents, if the goal of our offense was to generate fantasy stats for our TEs. SInce it isn't...
OK. I don't want to quote to whole thing point for point. The good thing is I think we are making progress. For me it is not about winning anything. I think we both agree that there are others who are more productive receiving wise. We both agree that it would be better if he was more productive on 3rd down and in the Red Zones.
Your reasons are:
1. It's Arian's fault for how he is underutilizing him
2. It is Ben's fault for not liking to use the checkdowns
3. Heath has to block half the time on passing plays
These are good arguments but I don't know if it is really "half"...that may be an exaggeration. He runs enough routes for a TE. It is what he does with the routes that is an issue.
It is easy to just blame Arians but it is his job to evaluate the talent and use it so maybe there is something to Heaths ability to get open, create mismatches, juke, jump and speed...his skill set...that makes Arians feel he should be used in the way he is using him. Still...I think you have some good points here.
What I don't like is arguments like the following:
1. Our goal isn't to make fantasy stats
2. Who should Heath steal catches from?
3. They never asked him to win jump balls
4. He only does what they ask him to do
Here is my response to these:
1. This is not about fantasy stats. This is about production. When Gates, Finley and others score and get first downs for their teams, it helps their teams production. It is not for fantasy. Hopefully you can see this. I want him to help the team more in certain areas. I'm about team (I purposely skipped Heath in my draft...lol).
2. We already went over the fact that since we had poor production in 3rd down and Red Zones, he wouldn't have been stealing because these other guys were not making plays. Just get open, make the first down or TD and we'll talk about stealing later. My requests were not unreasonable for a player that some want to call elite. I asked an average of 1 first down on 3rd down per game (16) and either 6 TDs within 10 yards or 8 TD in Red Zone (1 every 2 games). That would make me think he is more in the elite group. It would also help the team tremendously in areas of weakness. I can name TEs who I think could do that playing with Ben.
3. It is about skill set. If he had that domination, they would use it of course.
4. Me saying "wanting to make a play for the team" does not mean he has to be a trouble maker. I see Wallace, Holmes, Ward...all want to make the play for the team. If he thinks he is being underutilized, he could easily talk to Arians. I'm sure Arians is about results. Sometimes players talk to QBs in the huddle and let them know they are open. Yes...Heath has good manners and is polite...but I can name other polite more passionate TEs...that WANT the ball. If I could interview Heath, I would ask him whether he WANTS the ball.
Ultimately, neither of us probably has access to film to see whether Heath is open all the time or whether he is covered and that's why he is not getting the ball. I know you are giving him the benefit of the doubt at the expense of Ben and Arians. His routes could be adjusted to go a little deeper (medium range)...at least far enough to make the first down (he caught the ball and failed to make the first down 6 times last year) 14 catches...8 first downs. Gates never failed once.
I just have a small side question for you. If you had the choice to pick Heath or Gates for Ben, which would you choose? I would easily choose Gates. I think he would be a beast for our first downs, Red Zones, open up other players because of some of the double teams he commands, etc. Ben would love him. The running game would be fine. There are other ways to adapt blocking. I think before we debate anymore, I'd like to see how you answer this question.
Also, I think you disrespect Gates a little by making it seem like he is just in a system. He is a beast and it is his skills set that allows SD to use him like that. Heath could not simply be plugged into TE there and be a Gates.
I would say we would win more games with Gates...even if the running suffers just a tad. He would still block...it is just saying sometimes his man would beat him...fine. On the flip side, look what he offers passing wise.
It's OK...we are cool. I think as you watch games this season, you will see my point. I've watched a bunch of games and I've been impressed with many TEs. Times are changing from when there were only 6-8 good ones. As you watch, you will see some that will make you wonder what Ben could do with them. At the end of this year, we can revisit TE. If Heath just wants to block, we should draft a beast for #2 TE and let Spaeth go. NE got Aaron Hernandez in the 4th round.
I'm not saying Heath can't turn into an elite beast...I'm just saying I wanna see it.