Thursday, March 18, 2010
Wycheck: Crumpler still has plenty to give
By Tim Graham
The New England Patriots have a tight end who has caught an NFL pass.
Alge Crumpler actually has snagged 367 of them for 37 touchdowns.
Multiple outlets are reporting the Patriots have reached terms with Crumpler, a four-time Pro Bowler who spent the past two seasons with the Tennessee Titans.
The Patriots had a major void at tight end after losing free-agent Benjamin Watson to the Cleveland Browns and releasing Chris Baker. Those moves left them with only Robbie Agnone and Rob Myers, undrafted rookies on last year's practice squad, on their roster.
"It's a loss," Titans radio analyst and former tight end Frank Wycheck said of Crumpler's departure. "He's such a great professional, a stand-up guy win or lose. Theyr'e going to lose that leadership and that presence.
"The Patriots are getting a guy who fits the mold of what they've done over the years, bringing in guys you can trust to step up and play well."
In Crumpler's time with Tennessee, he evolved into a balanced tight end. He was known as a dangerous receiver for the Atlanta Falcons. He caught 24 touchdown passes in his last four seasons with them before joining the Titans as a free agent.
Wycheck said Crumpler excelled when the Titans gave him greater blocking responsibilities. Crumpler played a significant role in helping speedy running back Chris Johnson hit the corner throughout his 2,000-yard rushing season.
"He really blocked well, something he hasn't gotten enough credit for over his career," Wycheck said. "He's a really stout blocker, really holds the edge well.
"He embraced the role of going both on the line as a lead blocker and still being an effective receiver."
Crumpler had 27 receptions for a career-low 222 yards and one touchdown last season. Bo Scaife was the primary receiver at tight end, catching 45 passes for 440 yards.
Wycheck noted Crumpler won't be breaking down the middle of the field like he used to. But Crumpler still has incredible hands and the size to post up between the hash marks.
"It'll be a little bit of a change because everybody remembers Ben Watson tracking down Champ Bailey from behind," Wycheck said. "If you're expecting Alge to run like Ben Watson, that won't be the case."
"But I see him like Tony Gonzalez the past few years. Alge uses his smarts and experience. No one expects him to be the Alge that he was in Atlanta, but he's still playing really well and enjoying the game."