We've already looked at QB, RB, and WR. It's time to move on to the other pass-catching position tight end. The Rams were expected to use tight ends in the offense heavily in the pass game this season. So far, the opposite has been the case, as they mostly have had to stay in and block, much like the tight ends of the Mike Martz era. Let's see what the writers have to say.
D: Tight ends? We have them?
C : I would describe this group as chronically average. How good were Mulligan, McNeil, and Kendricks really going to be? I think we were all holding out hope that Kendricks would turn a corner, but unfortunately he doesn't appear to have all the tools to be a playmaker for this team. This group maintains a strong "C" because of their contribution to protecting Bradford in the passing game, but unfortunately we may be looking at their ceiling.
C+: We haven't gotten much in terms of offensive stats from our TEs but that doesn't mean that they haven't been productive. With the deficiencies on our o-line, the TEs have been asked to block the majority of the time, and they've done a pretty good job.
C: The blocking from Kendricks and Mulligan has been crucial to keeping Bradford upright, but where is the receiving production?
C-: When your friend texts you after the Rams lose to the Packers and says "You need a TE." well, that's when you start scratching your head. I thought Kendricks would be farther along by now, he does a TD though, so that's neat. There's potential in this group, but at this point, potential is getting stale. Like every group that's being evaluated, they're all simply inconsistent.
C: The Rams TEs are more blockers than receivers at this point, and that's been out of necessity. Lance Kendrick, the Rams second round pick in 2011, has become a third offensive tackle for the most pat. Mulligan and McNeill have added few catches this year, both blocking more often than not. TEs for the Rams have a total of 29 catches for 246 yards and 2 TDs. Since they've been dedicated to block to keep Sam Bradford standing, it's hard to rate this unit as a whole. When Brian Schottenheimer arrived in St. Louis, I think most fans believed he'd expand the role of TEs, but necessity has changed that for now.
B- I'm not down on these players like a lot of people most likely are. Because of the offensive line injuries the tight ends have had to block more, and the Rams haven't been able to send them deep. I think Lance Kendrick's will be a stable in this offense, hopefully as soon as the injuried players from the offensive line comes back I expect him to run more deeper routes.
C- Kendricks would be a perfect TE2 and Mulligan and McNeill are roster fillers, hopefully they go after Keller in off season.
D+ - These guys have been great ... at blocking, and that's pretty much it. To put it simply, the tight ends simply cannot be called upon to move the chains and keep drives alive. We knew that's what we were getting when the Rams signed Matthew Mulligan and Mike McNeill, so the focus really falls on Lance Kendricks, whose 165 yards through 8 games puts him at No. 36 in the league among tight ends. If Kendricks doesn't show improvement in the passing game soon, the Rams may once again chalk up tight end as a need on their draft board.
C: Lance Kendricks has been good blocking, but his incredibly inconsistent hands have really hurt his offensive production. Mulligan has been a decent backup, but I wouldn't expect him to be any more then that. Don't be surprised if the Rams look for other options after the year ends.
Ryan Van Bibber
C: There's a reason Sam Bradford isn't getting sacked on every other play with Barry Richardson and Joe Barksdale protecting his blindside. There's a reason the running backs are picking up yardage. The tight ends have made valuable contributions to the team's blocking schemes, by design and out of necessity. Unfortunately, that's it for the contributions from the tight ends. Lance Kendricks is thoroughly disappointing as a receiver, struggling to catch any ball not thrown directly to at his chest.
Next: the offensive line