Bengals Two Tight End Grouping Will Present Challenges For The Steelers Defense

The Cincinnati Bengals drafted tight Tyler Eifert in the first-round of the 2013 NFL Draft and offensive coordinator Jay Gruden has wasted no time in getting his hybrid toy involved in the offense. In their season opener against the Chicago Bears, the Bengals showed just how much they like the versatility of Eifert and they also showed just how much they like using their 12 personnel grouping, as it was used predominantly throughout the game.

Below are a few formation still shots from the Bengals season opener against the Bears and I used these to best illustrate just how much Eifert is moved around. It’s similar to the way the New England Patriots used tight ends Rob Gronkowski and Aaron Hernandez prior to losing the latter of the two this past offseason to a murder charge.

Eifert can function as an in-line tight end, an h-back, a slot receiver or as an outside receiver and quarterback Andy Dalton has the flexibility to move him around pre-snap based on what he sees from the defense.

Eifert and fellow tight end Jermaine Gresham were targeted ten times Sunday against the Bears and they caught all ten passes. What’s interesting is the fact that only one of those ten passes was to the middle of the field as Dalton preferred to work the short sides with his two tight ends.

Below is an animated gif of a pass to Eifert and you can bet the Pittsburgh Steelers will see this exact play or some variation of it Monday night.

On the play, the Bengals use a balanced line with their 12 personnel grouping and a single back eye set. It’s a simple misdirection play to their left complete with play action and a rollout to the right side. At the snap, Eifert comes across the formation and easily sneaks out into the flat for an easy catch and a 17-yard gain. The Bengals of course can run this play to either side and use Gresham as the target instead of Eifert in addition. They will set of this play by running the stretch first or vise versa.

Defending the Bengals two tight ends Monday night will not be an easy task for the Steelers and I fully expect that we will see some new personnel groupings on defense in order to best neutralize it.

Bengals Eifert animated gif Bears






  • Mkeller

    I was certain Tyler Eifert was going to be a Steeler. Just another in a long line of bad predictions on my part. Now that he’s in Cincy I hope he’s a complete bust.

  • RedCarpetDefense

    Yup, i flipped a coin between Eifert and Jarvis. Was hoping (praying actually) Eifert tumbled to us in the 2nd rd.

  • Mkeller

    If Jarvis ends up being a stud I will have hit the exacta for that draft pick. I thought for sure they were going Eifert and dreaded the idea of taking Jarvis. I thought there were just too many questions regarding his size, speed, health. But what the hell…hope he breaks loose. I’d like to see him get a hurry/hit/sack on the QB this week.

  • steeltown

    We really need Cortez Allen… its times like this that I really get frustrated with C.Brown and his development or lack there of

  • Xclewsive

    If the Steelers can generate pressure Andy Dalton is still a one read QB. While he’s more comfortable he still forces passes into coverage. The Steelers defense will have to score if not the offense won’t.

  • AndyR34

    I was hoping for Eifert as well, but understand going for Jones. I thought we needed offensive help more than defensive. It will be interesting to watch the careers and see what happens with the two.

  • Mkeller

    It’s looking like they are both going to be pretty good.

  • Mkeller

    It sucks, but he’s another one that’s been banged up a lot. I have no doubt about his talent only whether he can stay on the field. The other important thing with him is the future. I can’t imagine Ike will be back next yr with a 7 mil. salary. I would hope all this cap pain they’ve experienced as it pertains to aging vets will compel them to move on and not extend him. Again, nothing personal with Ike, but 7 mil for a 35 yr old dude who doesn’t get INTs is a bit asinine. So if Cortez doesn’t pan out you’re looking at zero starting CBs on the roster next yr. If Ike wants to take the big pay cut ok. But otherwise…time to move on.

  • r4kolb

    If the BenGals can score 10 or more points it will be a moot point. I can’t see the Steelers scoring more then 10 if that. Ben got sacked 5x by the Titans D what do you think the BenGals are going to do to him. Poor Ben, he deserves better.

  • steeltown

    I think for that exact reason Ike will be back, there is no one else besides him and Cortez.. lord knows they tried, the Van Dyke experiment, bringing in Justin King, drafting Hawthorne etc. They obviously will have to draft CB in the early-mid Rds next year and maybe even 2CBs like when they drafted Brown and Cortez

    I agree though, I hope Ike agrees to a paycut

  • Shea Fahr

    The Bengals have a very good front seven on the Defense but the rest of them do not scare me at all. I think we beat them in their place last year with Legs playing center for pete’s sake.. As long as we do not turn the ball over, we should win it pretty easily.

  • Shea Fahr

    It is a mental confidence thing with him. It is too bad because he has the physical tools.

  • Alexander Sebastian Heath

    It was my understanding that Star Lotulelei was 1A, Jarvis Jones was 1B, and Tyler Eifert was a 1C. All #1 means they are Steelers’ top 3 preferences, the rest are ranked in latter or lower. To be fair, all three now are performing beautiful or exceeding expectations. If we had a shot at all three all over again, i’d go with Jarvis Jones. Here’s why-

    We don’t know how (todd haley specifically) to utilitize 2 tight ends set, even we have that versatility before with Will Johnson/Heath Miller and… I’m just disappointed in our “offensive guru” because you would think being in NFL for this long he’d adapt.

  • r4kolb

    So out of the 11 on the Bengals D 7 are very good. That leaves 4 that don’t scare you. With our O line I’m scared….l’m very scared. I hope you are correct with us winning but I just don’t see it.

  • Mkeller

    They cannot pay him 7 mil, they just can’t. But you hit the nail on the head. “They may be forced”, “they obviously will have to”. You are right on but this is how you end up in trouble. Forcing picks for need. They’ll likely need to spend an early pick on OT and WR also. Probably another early one on S. Oh and TE. Possibly C. How many picks do we get next yr? Better be a lot.

  • Mkeller

    Good team coming of a road loss in their home opener against a division rival in prime time. Oh yeah…take the Steelers.

  • Shea Fahr

    Understood but the only time the Bengals win is when we beat ourselves with turnovers, stupid penalties ect. Let’s keep the fingers crossed.

  • cencalsteeler

    I predict Gay to get a pick or two in this game. I admit, I’m laughing out loud while typing this, but I think it’s going to happen.

  • Shannon Stephenson

    I heard he wasn’t a guy who took practice serious and that he was lazy but that seems to be false.

  • Shannon Stephenson

    the problem this year is that the Bengals have a overall better team then us unlike other years

  • Mike Carroll

    Ike will take a pay cut next year. He basically hinted as much already and was probably surprised he was not asked to take one this season. Many teams wisely dumped high cost DBs across the league this past offseason. No other team is going to be willing to pay $6-7M for a 33-34 yr old Ike Taylor if he were released. I just hope he’s worth keeping at a reduced rate next year, because he has not looked good so far this year.

  • Mike Carroll

    Funny you say that because I was thinking the same thing. Well… one pick anyway.

  • steeltown

    I agree about OL, WR and obviously CB.. but we’ll have Heath and Spaeth (hopefully fully healed) next year and the choice between Pouncey and Velasco so im not too sure we’ll draft TE or C atleast not early. I actually hope we keep Palmer around but I have a feeling he’s gone as soon as Miller returns

  • Mkeller

    Spaeth is another guy people talk about like he’s some great commodity. Lets aim a little bit higher. Allegedly he learned how to block in Chicago? He was terrible at it when he was here. That’s why he was left to leave via FA.