Throw back Tight End

Ok I getting tired of discussing, NFL vs. CFL, ratings, ownership, what the league needs, who should we sign. I know it’s that time of year. Here is a football related questions,

Just wondering if we will ever see a Tony Gabriel type of tight end in the CFL. In high school I played both TE and DE. We were one of the only teams that used a TE. A position I loved. I remember in the 1990’s reading about Tony and saw an old clip from the 1976 Grey Cup. Just wondering if the board thinks that position is dead or if it could make a comeback. Everything else is Retro these days why not that position?

Not a true tight end in the strictest sense used routinely, it’s a different game nowadays.

Love the idea, but then again understandably so because I am an American and NFL fan who played some tight-end and defensive end in intermural (American) football in pads in college too. :stuck_out_tongue: And yes it is that time of year of "football withdrawal" lest you are hockey fan or NBA fan or baseball fan but thankfully we have also the Olympics and World Cup this year.

As a relatively new fan to the CFL as an American, rugby (union) player, soccer player and NFL fan, I have to say I don't know enough about the CFL game to understand why the tight end position is not more prominent in the CFL for the following reasons. :?

In the NFL by comparison in which almost every offencive set includes a tight end, note that all eligible receivers, until the ball is thrown, can be knocked around and bumped within 5 yards beyond the line of scrimmage as well as behind it unlike in the CFL according to the 2009 CFL Rule Book where that is true only within the 1 yard neutral zone on each play.

In addition in the CFL unlike in the NFL, your offencive linemen, though ineligible receivers of any forward pass all the same for which a penalty would be called for such a reception in almost all cases, can roam down the field on any play as I understand the CFL rule book not restricting such movement at all.

In the NFL however on pass plays the offencive linemen must stay behind the line of scrimmage to pass-block only and otherwise are restricted by other rules from going downfield more than a certain distance on any play. A violation of such rules is designated and penalised as "ineligible receiver downfield," which in your rule book I could not find anything about if it even exists in the CFL though clearly merely "ineligible receiver" does and please note that key difference before commenting.

So in the interest of learning more of the rules of the CFL that I might have missed, basically with a tight end in the CFL it would seem to me that not only could one have the tight end not be touched beyond one yard of the line of scrimmage but also accompanied nearby by a fellow lineman! What an advantage even compared to the NFL where using a tight end is the overwhelming norm though not required at all! :thup:

Please refer to the CFL rule book and cite the specific rule preferably if anything I have typed is off the mark, as like down here with the NFL, so many folks don't know the actual rules on the more complex matters.

Tony Gabriel wasn't any bigger than current players who play the slot position now. Clermont, Fantuz and Bauman are a few who come to mind. He was employed in much the same way as these guys are currently.

This isn't quite right. Offensive lineman are free to block downfield, but cannot leave the line of scrimmage until the ball is thrown. We see "illegal man downfield" penalties on plays like screens if the timing is disrupted and the ball comes out late. So, while linemen can block downfield, you cannot have a whole convoy of hogs running into the secondary alongside receivers on their routes.

To me, watching both the NFL and CFL, the linemen and where they end up on plays doesn't seem any different. Mind you, I don't watch a lot of line play intensely.

A lot of the better teams in the NFL use 4 receiver sets and even 5 at times. If I was an NFL coach, I'd be playing a tight end who is quicker than the Shockey's not quite as big but quicker and can get open more on passes and give up some run blocking since the better teams pass to win anyways. In time you're going to see NFL teams get rid of the tight end big type guy and go more for the split end quicker guy, again I believe the better teams will do this. The NFL is going more CFL style all the time so this just seems a natural evolution of the more "3 yards and a cloud of dust" American game that has changed a lot due to, I think, Canadian football influence.

You're starting to see more and more tight ends in the offensive sets. The Riders used Clermont as a blocking TE a bit last year (later in the season). I think its only a matter of time until you see those guys block the initial rush and slip out into the flats to catch a pass.

What old is new again eh?

This seems to be an interesting article on the NFL and Fantasy Football:

The Spread Offense: The Future of the NFL and Fantasy Football

[i]5. The pure pass-catching tight end will die out and be replaced by a more versatile hybrid player.

As I explained before, tight ends are so valuable to an offense because of their versatility. Defenses must stay in base personnel to account for the tight end’s ability to block, creating mismatches on the tight end when he goes out in a route.

More and more, however, NFL teams are drafting tight ends who simply cannot block well. This allows defenses to substitute nickel personnel when the tight end is in the game, knowing that he will not be able to block well enough for his offense to sustain a viable rushing attack. The extra cornerback who is in the game can usually match up well with the tight end, who, although he has good receiving skills, is not as quick or talented as a pure wide receiver. Thus, the entire reason for using a tight end– to create a mismatch– is ruined.

Fantasy Impact: Eventually, fantasy leagues may not require a starting tight end at all, as most of the high-scoring tight ends figure to be replaced by the hybrid players I spoke about earlier. The versatility that a true tight end brings will allow those players (Jason Witten, Tony Gonzalez, Heath Miller) to flourish, but the pure pass-catching tight end will become a thing of the past, meaning there may not be enough tight ends left to justify requiring a starter on each team. Instead, yet another flex position will take its place.[/i]

http://fantasyfootball.com/1765213/

You know Earl, this is basically what happened to the tight end in the CFL. The last true tight end that I can recall playing regularly in the CFL was Nick Arakgi. I think those guys just got too easy to cover by those tweener DB/LB’s that came into vogue in the 80’s, and were a defensive liability in pass rush against the opposition’s best rush ends so teams switched to using a true O-lineman instead.

I remember another long time 0-lineman in BC (whose name totally escapes me right now) who started as a tight-end and was switched to play purely o-line after a couple of years.

The only ones you are missing were Aragki, Rocky Dipietro, and arguably the best of them Ray Elgaard. Btw the player you are thinking of was Jamie Taras although the Esks had Dan "The Sponge" Runge. True TE's can come back look at Calgary but won't stay every down in the forseeable future.

Dont forget Nick Araki(sp) _ Hamilton kid who made to CFL out of junior football. Lee Knight was used at T.E by Ticats,and also at F.B. Faster S.B,s have become the new T.E. Unless in a a short yardage situation.where T.E,s are used for blocking .

johnson for calgary plays a good tight end position. not as good in 09, but has proven to be a successful reciever out of that position.

A lot of the better teams in the NFL use 4 receiver sets and even 5 at times. If I was an NFL coach, I'd be playing a tight end who is quicker than the Shockey's not quite as big but quicker and can get open more on passes and give up some run blocking since the better teams pass to win anyways. In time you're going to see NFL teams get rid of the tight end big type guy and go more for the split end quicker guy, again I believe the better teams will do this. The NFL is going more CFL style all the time so this just seems a natural evolution of the more "3 yards and a cloud of dust" American game that has changed a lot due to, I think, Canadian football influence.
Earl
You're starting to see more and more tight ends in the offensive sets. The Riders used Clermont as a blocking TE a bit last year (later in the season). I think its only a matter of time until you see those guys block the initial rush and slip out into the flats to catch a pass. What old is new again eh?]
Yukoner
This isn't quite right. Offensive lineman are free to block downfield, but cannot leave the line of scrimmage until the ball is thrown. We see "illegal man downfield" penalties on plays like screens if the timing is disrupted and the ball comes out late. So, while linemen can block downfield, you cannot have a whole convoy of hogs running into the secondary alongside receivers on their routes.
Artie

Thanks for the clarification Artie on ineligible receiver downfield in CFL...it sounds to me like the ineligible receiver downfield rules in the CFL are about the same as the NFL if the same, but I still can't find anything on it in the CFL rule book under the Rule for Forward Pass ...I wish in both leagues they would just let the offencive linemen roam up to 10 yards from scrimmage on forward pass plays, and unlimited on running plays including passes behind the line of scrimmage like screens, instead of only being able to pass-block behind the line of scrimmage on pass plays, but that discussion is for another time.

Earl and Yukoner are both right, though NFL offenses are going more towards the quicker tight ends who can run routes in the spread offencive sets, the West Coast (San Fran and Philadelphia), and common NFL pro sets and just bringing in the blocking tight ends more in goal line short yardage situations when they want to beef up and run the ball.

It is a still real challenge to find guys who can fit in that mould of the quicker tight ends who could also go out to even the slot at times and still have average blocking skills on the line, but some of the names past and present no doubt are Ozzie Newsome, Kellen Winslow, Kellen Winslow Jr, Jeremy Shockey (he's been injured for some time and is past his prime no doubt), Antonio Gates, Dallas Clark (often lines up as a wing back too and can line up at fullback at times), Keith Byars (an earlier version of Dallas Clark that did not achieve as much success), and Shannon Sharpe.

Ball control offences such as those run by Steelers, Jets, Ravens, and NY Giants generally have the bulkier, slower guys at tight end but such offences are less the norm now in the NFL than they've ever been in my opinion.

An ultimate question I had in a conversation with a friend today was whether such teams with usually a two tight-end set (double tight) with primarily blocking and short-range receiving tight end would improve with such offences in the future or be on their way out into obsolescence. I think we'll know next year what the case is for the Steelers and the NY Giants in that regard, but Sanchez has more of a fine career ahead of him provided he does not get hurt seriously as is highly likely unless he uses what he has learned anew for sake of sliding.

Flacco at Baltimore just needs to be on a different offence in my view in order to achieve his potential that is not on that sort of ball-control offence for saking of getting past repeated, sound, low-scoring defeats in the playoffs.

Yeah, I remembered Arakgi (see above). He was the last true tight end to play the CFL game in my opinion.

I’m not sure Dipietro ever played tight-end. Wikipedia lists him strictly as a slotback which is all I recall, though its been so long since I watched him play…maybe he lined up as a tight end once in a while. I’m from Regina and watched Elgard play live 100 times in the 80’s/90’s, but I don’t know if I ever saw him line up as a tight-end. The again its possible he did in certain allignments. As an aside, I think he was drafted/or at least played some full back in his 1st season with the Riders

Taras…that’s right. Good memory. And a good player.

While the NFL is a little different due to the number of teams (you get a wider variety of offences), like the CFL, nothing is ever gone for good...just a while. Ironically, unlike so many other things, the NFL trends seem to trail (but track) those in the CFL. For instance, the NFL is now more or less a pass-happy league, where 3 WR 1 back sets are standard on many teams, and 4 WR formations exist too. This mirrors what the CFL has been doing for a number of years, where 2 back sets are now rare, and 5 and 6 receiver packs are the norm.

As well, the NFL has gone to more motion (to the extent their rules allow), and bunch formations, all things that the CFL has incorporated for years.

So.....what does this mean for the future of offences in the NFL? Well, if we look to the CFL for guidance, the NFL defences are going to respond by changing their type of personnel, where either 5 or 6 db sets are common, and the prototype LB position is going to get squeezed. Teams will either play fewer of them, or 3 or 4 LBs on fewer plays, or start moving towards tweener players that are basically slightly bigger safeties who line up in an LB spot. Canada has seen this in the last 5-7 years, to the point where only 1 of the 3 LB spots are now occupied by a true LB. The beginnings of this are also now being seen in the NFL, I'd suggest. All of this to better defend against the pass.

What will happen then, if we look to the CFL, is a return to the power run game. We're just beginning to see that up here. Teams are starting to use 1 or 2 TE's in certain formations (something that never happened outside of short yardage 5 years ago). The run game has re-emerged (7 of the 8 starting RBs went over 1000 yards last year, the first time in forever this has happened), and running backs are getting bigger. This to take advantage of defenses with glorified DB's in LB spots, so you have Reynolds or Mallet-type bodies who can run over LB's that are 6' and 215 pounds.

So, it may take a couple or even 5 years, but once the NFL starts to move to fewer/smaller LBs on a regular basis, then about 2-3 years after that, the big back and running game will return.

thanks what I was wondering, watching the west final I notice Clermont on the line of scrimmage. I am hoping TE's make a comeback and are in most offensive sets. I notice rushing going up in the CFL, which is good cause it will focus Defenses to bring another player closer to the line which could open up the air attack. Glad to read everyone's feedback.

I totally cannot stand Tight Ends.

I would rather see more 5 and 6 receiver offensive sets and open up the game more! make the defenses have to spread out to protect the pass, which will open up the middle for a nice run or two in order to keep them honest!

The problem, if that’s the right word, though is if the “tight ends” are always out wide, then that is less bulk for blocking for a run. So the run therefore becomes a bit of a trick play in a sense in that you are doing this play without all the blockers that you could be utilizing.

Don't get me wrong I don't mind see the occasionally 5 or 6 receiver sets, but if is the bulk of the offense, then they might as well wear flags on the side.

I love watching good blocks, and long drives instead of 2 and outs, which I feel a good throw back tight end could help out on.

If it's my team I want to see lots of 2 and outs for the other team and for my team I don't care about a long drive, I want to see some points anyway. Now if I'm watching a game where it's not my team, I watch differently and while long drives are nice, what is equally as nice is watching lots of 2 and outs and see how the field position game plays out with punts and returns. That's one thing I like about the CFL, while there are some long drives you see more a field position matchup in some games with the kicking which I find very interesting. The details of the kicking game are more prounounced than where you have 4 downs which yes, can give more drives but often a team "moves" the ball for 6 minutes with 4 downs and hardly moves the ball upfield. I don't find that as interesting.