2011 Position Review: Tight End

Posted Jan 17, 2012

The Browns' tight ends battled through injuries and had productive seasons in 2011.


Injuries hurt the Browns’ depth at tight end from one of the first drills run in training camp in 2011.

As veteran Benjamin Watson went over the middle on a crossing route, he made a catch but hit his head and walked from the field into the training room at the Browns’ Berea headquarters. Watson missed time due to that concussion and suffered two more concussions later in the season.

Watson suffered his second concussion in the third quarter of the Browns’ 6-3 home win over the Seattle Seahawks and finished the year on injured reserve after his third came in a 14-3 loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers at Heinz Field Dec. 8.

Later in the season, seventh-year tight end Alex Smith suffered a season-ending shoulder injury in an overtime loss at the Arizona Cardinals.

With Watson and Smith out of the lineup, the Browns relied on Evan Moore, rookie Jordan Cameron and free agent signee Dan Gronkowski to make plays in the passing game and serve as added support on running plays.

Moore, who earned a contract extension early in the 2011 season, played in all 16 games for the first time in his career, while Cameron and Gronkowski had opportunities to make plays and lead block in the team’s final few games.

Outstanding Performer:

Evan Moore.

Able to play a full season without a missed game due to injury, Moore tied wide receiver Joshua Cribbs for the team lead with four touchdown receptions in 2011.

This past season, Moore set career highs in most every receiving category. He caught 34 passes for 324 yards and the four touchdowns. Prior to 2011, Moore’s previous career highs came in 2010 when he caught 16 passes for 322 yards and one touchdown.

The week after Smith went out with the shoulder injury, Moore had a season-best five receptions for 35 yards and one touchdown in a 20-14 loss at the Baltimore Ravens on Dec. 24.

Key Number:


Of the 320 completions quarterbacks Colt McCoy and Seneca Wallace combined for this season, 91 of them were to the tight ends.

What To Watch For:

How the Browns continue to utilize the tight end position in year two of the West Coast offense under head coach Pat Shurmur.

The Browns kept four tight ends on the active roster when they broke training camp and began preparing for the 2011 regular season and all of them contributed in both the running and passing games.

Watson, Moore, Smith and Cameron combined to gain 898 yards and score seven touchdowns on 91 receptions. They averaged 9.87 yards-per-reception, or nearly a first down every time they caught the ball.

Among the tight ends, Watson had the most receptions (37), yards (410) and yards-per-reception (11.1 average) with two touchdown catches. Watson was also the Browns’ third-leading receiver behind rookie Greg Little and Cribbs.

Smith gained 131 yards and caught one touchdown on 14 receptions. In limited action, Cameron recorded six receptions for 33 yards. Cameron was active for just eight games during the 2011 season.

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