During preseason the Bengals 6’6 tight end had words like “bust” attached to his name. Like many young players who are brimming with potential, but just can’t break through due to injury or other issues, there was a bright cloud of hope surrounded by question marks floating over Tyler Eifert’s head. For the most part any questions have disappeared.
After last nights 3 TD performance against Cleveland he has become known affectionately as the “Matchup Monster” by Jeremy Hill and the rest of his teammates.
“You put a linebacker in there on him, either they’re too small or they’re too slow,” Hill said. “You put a corner in there and they’re obviously too small, too. So, he’s just a matchup problem.”
That problem is why the Bengals are 8-0 for the first time in team history, and are slowly gaining back the respect of critics who have made a laughingstock of them since Andy Dalton took over at Quarterback just over 4 years ago.
The connection between Dalton and the “Tower” is obvious, and even though he doesn’t make as many catches (37), or eat up as many yards (434) as some tight ends, his impact comes at the point where it makes the most difference, in the red zone. Because of that, Dalton seems enamored by his versatility.
“That’s what’s so big,” Dalton said. “He scored touchdowns on three different types of plays. There’s not much he can’t do.”
After missing a game early in the year, Eifert is still on pace for 18 TDs this season. The next three closest players, which include Rob Gronkowski, are only on pace for 14.
In a thin tight end group that is commonly referred to as, Gronk and then everyone else, Eifert may just be in his way to establishing a new tier at the top.
“Oh my gosh — that guy,” A.J. Green said, via the Cincinnati Enquirer. “Tyler is a wide receiver trapped in a big body because the way he runs routes and the way he’s getting in and out of his breaks is unbelievable.”
It’s obvious that Eifert has gained the respect of his teammates, and if he can continue to be healthy and stand tall, there is no limit to the new heights to which he can lead this team.