Here is how we see it.
After five games the Spartans have seen all three tight ends pull in balls. However, despite the emergence of Dion Sims, it looks as if the Spartans miss Charlie Gantt to the overall flow of the offense.
Production at the tight end position was not a concern heading into the 2011 season. However, after five games, it looks as if Kirk Cousins needs to rediscover three of his bigger targets.
Last season found Garrett Celek out after suffering an injury in week two and Dion Sims working out off field issues. Much was expected out of both players this season when combined with Brian Linthicum.
Here is a look at each of them.
Dion Sims: After missing a season Sims is showing his great athletic ability with 10 catches for 87 yards and three touchdowns. While Sims has the skills to be a great one, he's still learning and Cousins is starting to show confidence in going to the big guy. After missing a year it looks as if Sims is on the verge to breakout. This week would be a good time to take the next steps.
Brian Linthicum: Production from Linthicum is down as compared to a year ago. This season Linthicum has posted four catches for 24 yards (6.0 avg.) and no touchdowns. Compared to last year's 18 catches for 230 yards (12.8 avg.) you have to hope the second half of the season finds more chances coming to the talented receiving tight end.
Garrett Celek: After five games Celek has about the same numbers as he had before leaving during the Spartans second game a year ago with a season ending injury. Like his position mates the talent is there and if given the chance Celek can post solid numbers.
Keys: A year ago Cousins looked at Charlie Gantt in key situations. This season B.J. Cunningham seems to be the guy. While all three tight ends do a solid job blocking, their production as pass catchers is important to the offense as a whole. The Spartans need to get all three more into the offense during the second half of the season if they are to have overall success.
Spartan Digest Grade: B