Aug 8, 2013; Atlanta, GA, USA; Cincinnati Bengals tight end Tyler Eifert (85) runs for extra yards after a catch in the first half against the Atlanta Falcons at the Georgia Dome. Mandatory Credit: Daniel Shirey-USA TODAY Sports
The selection of Eifert doesn’t automatically mean Gresham is a man on his way out. More and more NFL teams are utilizing two-TE sets, and having another athletic big man who creates mismatches is desirable to any offensive coordinator. Most draft analysts thought Eifert would be long gone by the time the Bengals made their pick, but when he fell into their laps, it was a no-brainer.
Eifert’s combination of size and athleticism was a perfect fit for the Cincinnati offense, whether they needed a tight end or not. Gresham did see a message in the selection, however, saying he needed to work harder to keep his spot on the roster. That’s something fans don’t disagree with.
One of the knocks on Gresham from fans is his seeming lack of motivation. A man of his size and ability should be doing more, or so it seems. He has been called out, at times, for failure to catch the ball, lack of speed, inability to secure the ball, and for not showing enough emotion. These are all areas where he could use improvement, especially if he wants to retain the starting job long-term.
Catching the ball will be the area where he can make the most notable improvement. In particular, he struggled in getting his hands up to balls thrown high. With his size, this should be a strength, catching balls over defenders. Making the most of balls that are thrown to him will also make his apparent lack of speed irrelevant. As for emotion, he’ll need to lay it all on the line in 2013.
The Bengals are a team on the rise, with fans and media members alike touting them for the playoffs and beyond. Quarterback Andy Dalton is being counted on to elevate his own game, and will need contributions from all of his receivers, including Gresham. He’s said all the right things this offseason, and appears to be ready.
He better be. Another season of big drops and inconsistency might make 2013 his last in stripes.