TE Jermaine Gresham, Free agent
HT: 6-5, WT: 261, Born: 6-16-1988, College: Oklahoma, Drafted: Round 1, Pick 21
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Jermaine Gresham has never fulfilled the potential expected of him when he was drafted in the first round in 2010. After being a viable receiving threat in his collegiate career, Gresham has become more of a blocking-focused player in the NFL. He shouldnít be expected to exceed Ė or even approach Ė his career watermark of 64 receptions in 2012.
2013 Game Summaries
Week 1 - Gresham played with a lot of energy and was extremely physical. On four first half receptions, he was an absolute bear to tackle for Chicago. He clawed and fought for every yard, gaining three first downs after contact on short passes. The addition of Eifert really leaves someone open on every play, and Gresham looks absolutely determined to stay on the field as much as possible.
Week 2 - Just as Green-Ellis is desperately trying to hold off the newcomer, fellow veteran Jermaine Gresham is playing well and doing the same. Two big plays from Gresham set up Bernardís 27 yard TD reception. First, Gresham lined up wide and then cut in on a slant. He caught the ball and rumbled for 26 yards. Then as Dalton was under heavy pressure, Gresham pulled the quickly thrown pass from the air and was able to make something out of a potentially disastrous play.
Gresham and Eifert were on the field together quite a bit, and if they are both out there, itís likely that one of them will create a mismatch, especially as Eifert continues to learn the offense. Gresham has morphed into a bit of a security blanket for Dalton, who is without slot receiver Andrew Hawkins, as noted on the above bail-out throw from Dalton to Gresham.
Of some concern, however, is Greshamís continued mistakes. Gresham had one false start and was called for two holding penalties. Gresham has notoriously had problems with mistakes, and he cannot continue to make these types of errors with such a dynamic rookie playing the same position on this football team.
Week 3 - Thus far in the 2013 season, Gresham has clearly been fighting for every yard as he holds onto his job. This was the case on the opening drive, as Gresham took a short pass on a play-action fake, eluded the defender and got upfield for a big first down.
But that fight also caused Gresham to lose a big fumble as the 2nd quarter began. When you are in a dogfight for your starting position, fumbling the ball is never good. Despite the win, Gresham was never much of a factor the rest of the game.
Week 4 - Jones had an extremely quiet day, as he failed to catch a single pass. Jones did get a ball thrown his way on a deep out pattern at the end of the game, but the Browns defenders nailed him as the ball hit his hands, and he dropped the catch. Despite some of the exciting plays weíve seen Jones make this year, he still isnít working his way on the field all that often.
Week 5 - Gresham has a fight of his own in trying to hold onto the top TE spot. Gresham mostly was used on short dumpoffs that served to get solid, positive yardage. He did have one nice play, taking a quick Dalton pass, making a cut inside and picking up 12 yards. Gresham remains a decent option for Dalton in the middle of the field, but isnít a serious TD threat, and at this point is becoming simply a chain-mover for Dalton.
Week 6 - Gresham had a very quiet day, only hauling in 2 short passes. He also dropped a key 3rd down reception late in the fourth quarter that led to a Bengals punt and a game-tying touchdown. With so many weapons emerging for Cincinnati, Greshamís role in the offense is likely to continue to diminish.
Week 7 - Gresham had a quiet first half, but came alive in the 2nd half with some big plays. At the end of the third quarter, Dalton threw a lob 30 yards downfield right into Greshamís hands for a long gain. Then in the 4th, Dalton hit Gresham down the seam for a 22 yard gain on another precision pass just above the defenderís head. Finally, Gresham then ran a big 13 yard comeback route, to get the Bengals close to the first down marker.
The fact that Jones and Green had big games, opened up the middle of the field, and Dalton took advantage, hitting Gresham and Eifert for big gains in the 2nd half. However, the fact that both tight ends are getting a lot of playing time, tends to keep either of them from having big games. Itís a great situation for the Bengals, but not a great situation for fantasy purposes. Gresham is the same receiver heís always been, and he may find himself wide open in ways he has never been before. But he still isnít going to get enough targets to be consistent.
Week 8 - Gresham had a quiet day, but did pull in a TD. Lined up in a 2 TE set, Gresham streaked toward the corner and found himself wide open for an extremely easy 4 yard TD. Gresham plays a bit role at this point, and is likely to only lose targets as Eifert gains experience.
Week 9 - With the emergence of all the other weapons, Gresham has become a non-factor in fantasy. He had one really nice 16 yard gain in which he dragged two defenders for a big first down after a short reception. But it was his unnecessary holding penalty on Marvin Jones 50 yard TD that really hurt the Bengals. These huge mistakes really cost Cincy, and canít help Greshamís quest to stay on the field.
Week 11 - Gresham made a beautiful catch over his shoulder in the first half. Once he hauled it in, he somehow stayed in bounds, spun, and then plowed over a defender at the 2 and got into the endzone for a 25 yard score. Gresham has been exceptionally physical this year, and hasn't given an inch to Eifert in battle for the number 1 TE spot. But even though he's played well when he has gotten the ball, the targets are way down, which is why his numbers are way down on the year.
Week 13 - Gresham and Eifert are killing each otherís value, but in this contest the tight ends were rarely looked at. Gresham only was targeted twice and didnít make a single reception.
Week 14 - Gresham remains the primary tight end, and continues to play solidly. He opened the game with a reception on playaction, then later caught a nice 16-yard back shoulder throw from Dalton. Gresham got into the endzone in the 2nd half when he shot outside on a playaction and found himself wide open. In reality, Eifert hasnít affected Gresham all that much, as Gresham is still on the field most of the game. Where Gresham has been affected is the additions and improvements of other players such as Bernard and Marvin Jones. At this point, Eifert has failed to show anything on the field that would make you think that Greshamís status as the number one TE is in jeopardy in 2013.
Week 15 - Gresham has fought and clawed for yardage all year, but in the first half, a fight for extra yardage ended up resulting in a fumble, giving the Steelers the ball back. Gresham has played hard, and heís tried to maintain his hold on the starting job. But his fumble coupled with Eifertís strong second half is a storyline that could bear watching in future weeks.
Week 16 - Gresham opened the game with a reception on the left sideline and then a fumble after he had gained 22 yards. Gresham has hada problem fumbling the ball this year while fighting for extra yardage. Fortunately the Bengals overcame this fumble. Gresham made up for it with a 16 yard TD reception in the 2nd quarter. Gresham jumped high in the air, and caught the ball at the high point, coming down with the big TD. Despite the fumbles, the coaching staff has stayed loyal to the veteran, and he seems to make a couple plays each game to keep him in the starting role.
Week 18 - Gresham started the season as the primary TE, and finished the season as the primary TE, holding off Tyler Eifert all year long. Gresham had the games only TD as he smoked his defender and hauled in the over-the-shoulder pass from Dalton for a 4 yard TD. Gresham also had a huge 13 yard catch right before the half. Dalton threw the ball high and to the sideline. Gresham made a great play on the ball, and pulled it in just before getting out of bounds, which led to a field goal with :02 seconds left. Dalton also used Gresham as a safety valve in the first half, hitting him for 10 yards as he was getting hit, and throwing another short pass to Gresham. Gresham did a great job of avoiding a tackle and getting a first down on that play as well.