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The Unknown Demands of the TE Position
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It’s not easy being a tight end in the NFL.
Every position requires extensive study and preparation, but being a tight end requires knowing two positions as a wide receiver and offensive lineman rolled into one.
With the same amount of time to prepare, they can easily spread themselves too thin without the proper mindset and approach. It didn’t take long for Ladarius Green to recognize that when he first joined the Chargers.
Not only is the tight end position one of the most demanding in the NFL, according to Antonio Gates, being a tight end for the Chargers is the most challenging position in the league outside playing quarterback.
“When you take on a position, you understand that multitasking is a big part of what you do,” Gates explained. “But I like to think that playing tight end in this system alone is probably the 33rd hardest position in the league other than the 32 other quarterbacks. And that is because what you are required to do in this system. I don’t know what other teams require their tight ends to do, but for the most part, what we are asked to do in this system is a task.”
However, Gates also notes it is one of the most rewarding.
Fans see the finished product on the field when Gates and his fellow tight ends make highlight reel catches. However, they may not realize how much time and effort goes into knowing every nuance of the position.
“It’s a lot of film work during the season for us,” John Phillips explained. “We do a lot of film study to put us in the best position. We can’t rely on just going out there and getting it done. We have to study tendencies and really do our homework. As the season goes on, the more film you will have of the guy you are going against, so the longer it takes to get through each period. And we have to do that for a lot of responsibilities. So it is a lot of studying, and I pride myself on watching every single rep to put myself in the best position come Sunday.”
Since the Chargers’ tight ends have a myriad of responsibilities on any given play, they are in the meeting room as much as any other position.
“We split our time up evenly between both aspects, so we’re pretty much in the film room whenever Philip (Rivers) is,” Green added. “When the O-Line is in there meeting with Philip, we’re in there too. When the receivers are in there meeting with Philip learning routes, we’re in there too. So we split it up evenly because we have to know both sides of the call. So it is very demanding. There is a lot that goes into the tight end position.”