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Position Preview: Tight Ends

Posted Jun 19, 2012

In the weeks leading up to training camp, DenverBroncos.com will take you inside the roster, position-by-position. First in the series: tight ends.

ENGLEWOOD, Colo. – On March 22, the Broncos had just two tight ends on the roster with any NFL game experience.

By March 23, that number had doubled.

In one day, the Broncos signed two tights ends through free agency -- Jacob Tamme and Joel Dreessen

Tamme brings familiarity with the team’s new quarterback, as he and Peyton Manning played together for three seasons in Indianapolis. In 2010, which was their last year playing together with Manning as the quarterback, Tamme set career highs with 67 catches for 631 yards and four touchdowns.

“It’s fun to play ball with him,” Tamme said about playing with Manning. “Offensively, you go into a game with a game plan that you know that you can succeed with. You know that if everyone executes their job, good things will happen. He’s a great leader. I think everyone will really enjoy having him as a teammate.”

Dreessen returns to Colorado after the Fort Morgan, Colo., native played collegiately at Colorado State University.

Dreessen played all 16 games in each of the past four seasons and is coming off a career-high six-touchdown season in 2011. He was named the Texans’ Ed Block Courage Award Winner for the 2010 season.

After playing against Manning twice a year as a member the Houston Texans, Dreessen said he’s looking forward to learning from the future Hall-of-Famer.

“It’s no secret that Peyton Manning makes everybody he plays with better,” Dreessen said. “Obviously for that opportunity, I’m very excited about that, and I’m hoping to get a lot better.”

Tight Ends Coach Clancy Barone is excited about the team’s two signees and the veteran presence they can bring to a position that returns just two players from last year’s active roster – both of whom are entering just their second NFL season.

“One thing is I think they’ve got very good leadership,” Barone said. “Dreessen is a guy that I had interest in when he came out of college and I was in Atlanta. So I’ve kind of known him for a long time, a guy I’ve always watched on film and kept track of. As a tight end coach, you always study the tight ends at Indy because Dallas Clark kind of set the standard for tight ends in this league as far as receiving. … In doing so, you also obviously have to study Jacob Tamme. He became a younger version of Dallas Clark. So I think those two guys add a brand new dimension to our offense that maybe we didn’t have here in years past. I’m extremely thrilled to have guys like that in that room. They can obviously show younger guys this is what we’re looking for.”

Dreessen and Tamme join returning tight ends from last year’s roster, 2011 draft picks Julius Thomas and Virgil Green along with another second-year player in Cornelius Ingram. The team also picked up college free agent Anthony Miller to compete for a roster spot.



MEET THE TEs

Joel Dreessen – Entering his seventh NFL season in 2012, Dreessen has totaled 110 receptions for 1,364 yards and 13 touchdowns in 91 games (34 starts) for the New York Jets (2005) and Houston Texans (2007-11).

Virgil Green – Selected by the Broncos in the seventh round of the 2011 NFL Draft, Green played 15 games for Denver as a rookie, catching three passes for 24 yards and recovering a key onside kick in Denver's historic come-from-behind win against Miami.

Cornelius Ingram – Added to the Broncos practice squad for the final week of the 2012 regular season, Ingram was originally selected in the fifth round of the 2009 NFL Draft by Philadelphia.

Anthony Miller – A 2012 college free agent signee, Miller earned a spot on the watch list for the John Mackey Award, which is given annually to the nation’s top tight end for the second straight season in 2011. He played 46 games, registering of 64 receptions for 774 yards and five touchdowns during his time at Cal.

Jacob Tamme - The fifth-year pro spent his first four years with the Indianapolis Colts, where he caught 92 passes for 855 yards and five touchdowns in 60 games (14 starts).

Julius Thomas – A former college basketball player at Portland State, the 2012 rookie opened eyes with a strong training camp and caught one pass against the Bengals in Denver's Week 2 victory before an ankle injury ended his first NFL season.