Training camp is the time for getting your feet under you. For tight end Tony Scheffler, that’s meant literally. Hampered by a foot injury last year, Scheffler is showing the camp and the coaches what he can be like when he’s completely healthy. "Tony Scheffler! Made it through a practice today, congratulations!" teased Cutler, referring to Scheffler’s injury of the first day of last year’s camp. Scheffler still felt winded on the 1st day of this year’s camp, but was encouraged that the foot was pain free. By the second day he was on everyone’s highlight reel. The third year tight end was also unstoppable on 4-on-4 drills.
"One of the most entertaining segments in the morning session was the one-on-one coverage drill between a linebacker or safety on one side against a tight end or fullback on the other. Opponents might want to use a cornerback against tight end Tony Scheffler. He beat, on consecutive reps, safety John Lynch, outside linebacker Boss Bailey and safety Marlon McCree for receptions" (Denver Post)
Broncos’ fans have no problems remembering that Cutler loves going to his friend and big target on third downs and in go-to situations. Bad foot and all, Tony was responsible for one of the most memorable pass receptions of 2007. Although the left foot injury hampered his playing time, Scheffler still managed 549 yards and was tied for second on the team with 5 receiving touchdowns. Given the start that he’s off to this year, we may be focusing too much on the fight for the #1 and #2 receiver slots. Sometimes, the best WR for the job is a TE.
"I think when the third down comes around, I’ll be one of the guys that Jay likes to come to. I just got to work on getting the ball in the air and seeing because I have been out of it for a little bit."
Scheffler isn’t our only weapon at tight end. Seventh year Daniel Graham is one of the leagues premier blocking TE’s and ranks second in playoff experience among active tight ends (11 games), a benefit that the Broncos hope will help translate into more playoff wins this year. In 2007 he started 15 games for the Broncos and added 24 receptions, 2 TDs and helped the offense rank 5th in the NFL in years per rush (4.6) despite major injuries on the O line and at running back. Nate Jackson rounds out the field as a ST pro with 15 career stops on coverage units. Denver has it all at tight end. But with receiving, blocking and special teams play available, who's the most important of the three?