Can the Bengals survive without Tyler Eifert on the field?
Cincinnati Bengals faithful were hit with more bad news, after the start of OTAs. Pro Bowl tight end Tyler Eifert could possibly miss the start of the season, due to ankle surgery. He suffered the injury on a deep end zone pass. The internet is ablaze with reasons the Bengals’ season will be a total disaster. The “woe is me” syndrome has kicked in, with Cincinnati denizens.
Since Eifert has been a member of the Bengals, he’s endured his share of injuries. The most devastating mishap came in 2014. He suffered a preseason shoulder injury that was followed by an elbow dislocation. Both required surgery, effectively ending his year. He returned in 2015 and suffered more setbacks. In Week 11, he suffered a stinger, while trying to recover a fumble against the Rams.
Eifert was able to see battle against the Steelers, in Week 13, but promptly suffered a concussion. The malady kept him on the sidelines for two weeks. He was able to contribute against the Ravens and during the Wild Card game.
The skinny on the Bengals’ tight end is not a good one. Analysts are tossing him into the ring as a fragile player who can’t take a hit (again). When he’s on the field, Eifert is a monster. He quickly became one of Andy Dalton‘s prime targets, during the 2016 season. He averaged 11.8 yards per catch (a cool first down) and was a couple TDs shy of leading the league. Per ESPN stats, he was the highest scoring tight end on the list. Yes…Eifert finished higher than Rob Gronkowski.
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Meanwhile, on the shores of the Ohio River, Bengals fans are running around like Chicken Little. News of the impending surgery has caused a mild panic. There’s no need to find Mr. Peabody’s Wayback Machine and keep Eifert from playing in the Pro Bowl. The Bengals will navigate the storm.
Yes. Mohamed Sanu and Marvin Jones are gone. No. The Bengals are not cursed. Dalton will still have his full array of weapons. There’s no need to rush him back. The Bengals will probably have the Man of Steel on the gridiron by Week 1. The timetable for his return is August, if all goes right. Cincinnati should be able to handle the New York Jets, without his diving catches.
So, what’s the prognosis? Sit back and watch the development of Tyler Kroft and C.J. Uzomah. Bengals brass did a fine job of finding fill-in talent, for such a situation. Now, it’s time for those investments to come of age.