What’s With the Steve Heiden Coronation?

Am I the only Browns fan wondering why the mainstream media (including Sporting News and ESPN) seems ready to coronate tight end Steve Heiden as the starter at that position in the upcoming campaign?

I will wager that Royal gets the nod.  Robert was picked up as a free agent from the Buffalo Bills.  He is an inch shorter and 10-15 pounds lighter than Heiden, however, he is more nimble in traffic among the linebackers and more explosive down the field on longer balls.  When the Bills released him, the sports commentators covering Orchard Park had mixed reactions.  The knock on Royal was how sure his hands are.  But overall, he tends to rank higher than Heiden at the TE position.

Royal is also two years younger than Steve, and Robert is not coming off of major surgery. 

Mangini likes to mix things up;  the odds are good that he will go with the guy that he brought in rather than Heiden.

One day is obviously inadequate to judge the performance of an NFL player, even if I was qualified to render that judgment on an informed basis (which I’m not).  But I saw first-hand yesterday over a couple of hours what I have heard reported earlier at Training Camp.  At practice in Berea, Royal got a lot of work with the QBs.  It is hard to focus your attention exclusively on one player, but there were at least two ocassions where I saw great speed and footwork by Royal leading to solid catches against defenders.  I was not the only one around who asked out loud, “who’s that”, as I heard it from a couple of fellas nearby.  It was Royal.

I think it is a little early to coronate Heiden just yet.


  • Sam


    I enjoy reading the blog and just had a thought to share on the “Heiden v. Royal” post.

    While I’m with you on thinking its too early to crown either TE, I have to give Heiden the nod. Reason being exactly his size and blocking ability: the capacity to contribute in that regard more-so than a guy Royal’s size.

    It’s pretty clear Mangini’s planning to utilize an aggressive running game, which is likely one (of a few) reasons one of his first moves was to oust our “wideout-who-calls-himself-a-tight-end” Winslow. Winslow’s got talent, for sure, but he’s no blocker. Heiden has good hands and can play both roles.

    Perhaps Royal is the 3rd-and-long tight end who’s more of a receiving threat than Heiden, but still with more blocking ability than Kellen to keep defenses honest in those situations.

  • Denolakes

    Can’t knock Heiden. On this team, he has been a steady and consistent performer. He’s made clutch catches and blocks well. True, he’s coming off a major injury, but he’ll probably be just fine.

  • lvnlgnd

    I hate to say but from what ive seen this camp Royal would be the last guy I’d put in on a third down passing situation.Heiden has proven himself year in,year out.Injury or not!

  • Hutch

    Man you are Crazy. No way in Hell that Royal can even think about filling Heiden’s Shoes. Did you see what Heiden did when that Stiff Winslow was hurt. Heiden is a True Cleveland Brown and WILL BE the Main tight end this season!!!!!!!!!!!!