Posted by Andy Rioux
Wednesday, August 26, 2015 - 9:41pm
After the Cleveland Browns let talented yet injury-prone tight end Jordan Cameron sign with the Miami Dolphins, they signed Rob Housler to help fill the void. The athletic Housler has been viewed as a player with potential, but was recently stuck in an Arizona system regarded as being unfriendly to tight ends. Can Housler give a fledgling Cleveland passing game a shot in the arm?
Two of the other prominent tight ends on the Cleveland roster, Gary Barnidge and Jim “Doctor” Dray, are role players. Dray's largely a blocker and Barnidge, who was drafted back in 2008 by Carolina, has just 44 career receptions. The Browns have some quantity at wide receiver, but the quality is questionable. And although the Browns want a run-dominated offense, the early struggles of their young running backs and the fact they will be regularly playing from behind may dictate more passing.
Houlser's head coach for the last two seasons in Arizona was highly-regarded Bruce Arians and it is true that tight ends in his scheme focus more on blocking than receiving. However, when Arians was offensive coordinator of the Steelers in 2009, Heath Miller caught 76 passes and scored six touchdowns. The odds are quite good Arians did not believe in Housler. You have to figure Arians would have made some adjustments to incorporate Houlser into the offense if he thought he was a special talent or even merely a good one, as Miller is not a superstar. And there are signs the Browns may already be losing faith in Housler. He was third on their initial depth chart and there have been hints he may be cut down before the regular season starts. Maybe Housler can right the ship, but even if he does, Cleveland's quarterback situation is troublesome. And in four NFL seasons, Housler has just one touchdown.
Housler is undraftable. At best, he will be worth claiming off waivers in deeper leagues later in the season.