Bengals tight end Jermaine Gresham has been a player that will make you say “awe” with his play one game, only to disappear the next week and fail to show up in a game, no matter how important it may be. But the former All-American out of Oklahoma has owned up to his shortcomings, and vowed to correct them this offseason.
The 6-foot-5, 260-pounder trained with four-time Olympic track-and-field gold medalist Michael Johnson in Texas during the offseason. The training was centered on football skills for overall performance rather than getting bigger or stronger, as his goal is to contribute more in the passing game this season.
Thus far, he’s been a reliable target when thrown to in the passing game, but his biggest weakness still remains.
That being his run-blocking. While he has the frame of a small offensive tackle, he’s often the team’s biggest liability when asked to get his hands dirty in the run game. According to Pro Football Focus, Gresham’s struggles in the run game were once again evident against the New England Patriots:
Perhaps one of the more common gripes we hear from Bengals fans is about TE Jermaine Gresham’s less-than-stellar run blocking grade, and this game will surely continue to fill up our in boxes. Among the negative plays, Gresham was stood up by LB Dont’a Hightower with 8:51 to go in the first, and later controlled at the point in similar fashion by Chandler Jones at the 10:24 mark of the second quarter. Fast forward to the fourth quarter, and it was DE Rob Ninkovichhaving his way with Gresham as he tossed him aside with 13:54 to go, and it was more of the same at the 2:20 mark but this time Ninkovich got in on the tackle for no gain. Among these negative blocks, the positives were few and far between as Gresham continues to struggle in the run game.
It gets worse unfortunately. He’s currently ranked as the second-worst TE out of 56 eligible TEs by PFF, due in large part to his -12.5 run blocking grade, by-far the worst rating by a TE.