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The preseason is a key time to monitor news and camp notes that will influence the 2023 season. We've already covered quarterbacks and wide receivers:
Below are 6 tight end storylines to monitor as you watch training camp.
Will Mark Andrews get the passing volume?
Mark Andrews is among a small group of active tight ends capable of producing the best tight end season ever. Andrews is the only active tight end not named Travis Kelce to have a TE1 overall seasonal finish, and did so in a season where his team had a passing rate under expectation, the only tight end since 2011 to accomplish the feat. On his career, Andrews has 2.18 yards per route run, a 99th percentile performance among tight ends with more than 200 career routes since 2008. He has been targeted on 24.9% of his routes, the 100th percentile performance among tight ends, with more than 200 receiving routes since 2008. The team parted ways with former offensive coordinator Greg Roman and hired Todd Monken to call plays in 2023. In Monken's four seasons as an NFL play caller, he passed at or above his team's expected passing rate. While he was an offensive coordinator at Georgia, he called plays for Brock Bowers, who dominated college football the last two seasons, and led Georgia in receiving each year. Monitor training camp for reports about Baltimore's new passing offense and their expected volume.
Is Irv Smith Jr. healthy?
Despite early optimism in the fantasy community about his trajectory, Irv Smith's career has never gotten off the ground. Smith's rookie contract in Minnesota was plagued by injuries and mediocre production. Now, Cincinnati has taken a flier on Smith to fill their tight end position. If he is healthy, he can step into an every-down role in the Cincinnati offense that saw Hayden Hurst run the ninth-most routes in the league in 2022 (483). Smith has never lived up to the hopes in Minnesota, but Cincinnati could be an opportunity to aggregate his way to a top-12 seasonal finish.Zach Ertz
Is Zach Ertz healthy?
Zach Ertz was the starter ahead of Trey McBride before he tore his ACL during the 2022 season. If Ertz returns, he is more likely to block McBride than be a weekly lineup option in his own right. However, if Ertz misses the start of the season, McBride should get an opportunity to start the season.
What is the New England Patriots' tight end situation?
After a full-on fiasco of an offensive season in 2022, the Patriots hired Bill O'Brien as their offensive coordinator. 2022 was the lowest receiving yards per game (29.9) of Hunter Henry's career, and his 2.4 receptions per game was the lowest since his 2016 rookie season. Henry will be in the final season of his in New England, and he will be joined by Mike Gesicki on a one-year deal. The scheme as well as the usage of both Henry and Gesicki could create value in 2023.
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