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2012 Season Rewind: Tight Ends

Posted Jan 8, 2013

Titans Online is taking a look back at the 2012 season by position group.

Tight Ends | Click here to view other position reviews.

Jared Cook delivered a strong encore to his breakout 2011 season, and Craig Stevens set career highs in receptions and yards to highlight 2012 for Titans tight ends.

Cook was on pace to challenge personal records he set in 2011 but he suffered a season-ending shoulder injury at Indianapolis on Dec. 9. He ended his fourth pro season with 44 catches for 523 yards and a career-best four touchdowns one season after he recorded 49 catches for 759 yards and three touchdowns.

Cook continued to show big-play potential, grabbing a reception that gained at least 15 yards in 10 of 13 games and had a play of at least 25 yards in eight games. Three of his touchdowns had high degrees of difficulty: he broke free from contact for a 61-yard catch-and-run against Detroit, and made agile, diving catches for TDs at Miami (click here to see the 26-yard TD) and Indianapolis (click here to see the 18-yard score).

Titans coach Mike Munchak said he was encouraged that Cook’s surgery went well and showed that the injury was not as severe as anticipated. Munchak didn’t yet know how long Cook’s rehab will take, but told reporters that he believes the Titans will re-sign Cook, whose initial pro contract is running out.

“We still think he’s a huge part of this offense,” Munchak said. “If we’re going to be as successful as we think we’re capable of, he’s going to be a part of that. I would think that we’ll be doing everything we can to get him signed. The timetable, I don’t know about all that. You want to get that done before free agency starts. That will be one of the many things to work on.”

Stevens, who was already established as a great blocking tight end, offered further evidence that he’s quite capable in the passing game. Stevens often showed strong hands to fight off contact during catches and turned up field with determination, squeezing all possible yards out of the play, especially on his 19-yard TD catch at Houston (click here to see it again). The fifth-year pro started the Titans’ first 15 games of 2012 but missed the finale with a concussion.

Tennessee added Taylor Thompson, who played defensive end in college at Southern Methodist, in the fifth round of the 2012 NFL Draft with the 145th overall selection after executing a trade with Miami. Thompson quickly developed blocking skills on offense and special teams and has potential to become another matchup problem for opposing pass defenses to cover.

Rookie Brandon Barden was undrafted but signed in 2012 with the Titans after finishing his college career at Vanderbilt. Barden hit a stroke of bad luck during training camp when he suffered a hamstring injury, but he signed with Tennessee’s practice squad on Sept. 1.

The Titans signed Barden to their active roster on Dec. 13 after the injury to Cook, and he played primarily on special teams in the final three games of the season.

The chart below shows the stats for Tennessee’s tight ends in 2012.

 Player

Rec.

Yards

Avg.

Long

TD

 Jared Cook

44

523

11.9

61t

4

 Craig Stevens

23

275

12.0

46

1

 Taylor Thompson

6

46

7.7

12

0

 Brandon Barden

0

0

0

0

0

 Tight Ends Totals

73

844

11.6

61t

5

 Titans Receiving Totals

318

3,577

11.2

71t

17

 Opponents Receiving Totals

374

4,205

11.2

82t

31

 

Click here for a slideshow of
Titans tight ends in 2012.

 

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