Tight end Lance Kendricks’s role has shifted several times in the three seasons spent with the St. Louis Rams. He has yet to tap into his potential since being drafted out of the University of Wisconsin back in the 2011 NFL Draft. But the coaching staff should focus his role in being an end zone threat.
It was hard not to be excited about Kendricks joining the Rams. He is a big 6’3” target which the Rams desperately need. His final year with the Badgers was impressive as he finished with 43 receptions for 663 yards and had five touchdowns. Kendricks has great speed, excellent route running abilities, is a decent run blocker and can normally extend plays.
All of those qualities are needed to be a successful tight end in the NFL. One area that Kendricks continues to struggle at is catching the football. Dropped passes has been the downfall of his entire professional career. The Rams have been riddled with dropped passes over the past few seasons, which has resulted in too many killed drives. The Rams sought more help and brought in veteran tight end Jared Cook.
The idea of Cook being brought in wasn’t to replace Kendricks. True, Cook has become the starter, but the idea was to add yet another weapon for the developing quarterback, Sam Bradford. Many teams benefit from utilizing dual tight end formations and can be a tremendous asset if used correctly. Last season wasn’t a good example. Kendricks only saw the end zone four times with a mere 258 receiving yards. If the offense is to succeed, Kendricks will need to make the most of every opportunity and stay healthy.
The receiving portion of a tight end’s job is only half of the position’s responsibility. Blocking is still a major part Kendricks’s duties. Kendricks has improved a little at blocking, but the biggest problem for him is his size. He doesn’t have the bulk or frame to sustain blocks for long periods of time. Timing is everything when it comes to blocking, which is why a third tight end is needed for the roster especially with pass blocking abilities. Blocking ends still play a vital role to any roster.
Overall, Kendricks could play a huge role in the Rams’ offense, but he will need to work on his catching and pass blocking skills. The Rams will need their bigger targets to produce this season if they want to have a shot against the NFC West division.