Bengals’ Running Game Is Ready to Lead Offense

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Aug 24, 2014; Glendale, AZ, USA; Cincinnati Bengals tight end Tyler Eifert (85) against the Arizona Cardinals at University of Phoenix Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Admittedly it’s seems a bit premature to assume really anything about this group, but this doesn’t mean that the Bengals haven’t done a great job assembling a promising core at tight end.

The Bengals are still waiting for Tyler Eifert to fulfill the promise he offered when they drafted him in 2013.  Could 2015 be the year?  Eifert used 2014 to recovery from a couple of injuries (shoulder and elbow) and heads into 2015 healthy.  If Eifert has learned to be even a semi-effective blocker, then he’ll offer the offense a huge dual threat.  He’ll be able to draw defenders away from focusing on the run and will be able to provide functional blocking for Hill and Bernard.

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Meanwhile, the Bengals added Tyler Kroft this year in the third round of the draft.  Kroft spent much of his final season at Rutgers as a blocker.  He was specifically selected to replace Jermaine Gresham in that role.  Kroft should be able to offer some of that dual-threat effect also, though opposite to Eifert in that Kroft is more of a blocker than receiver whereas Eifert is more receiver than blocker.

Cincinnati also added C.J. Uzomah, Matt Lengel, and John Peters this year.  Uzomah plays more like Eifert, but at 6’5″, 264 pounds, he offers the requisite size to become a solid blocker for the Bengals.  The same can be said for Lengel and Peters who both are listed at 6’8″, though both are also more athletic than edge setters.

The Bengals’ tight end group does have some serious question marks heading into the season given Eifert’s history of injuries and the inexperience of the new players, but they should be able to find one or two players who can draw the defense away from the running backs while also blocking effectively for Hill and Bernard.  We’ll have to see if any of these players can block as effectively as Gresham did; that is a high bar to set though.

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