Despite claiming that the Cincinnati Bengals are not the New England Patriots after the team selected tight end Tyler Eifert, offensive coordinator Jay Gruden at least acknowledges that he's studied how the Patriots have utilized their tight end combination of Rob Gronkowski and Aaron Hernandez, writes Dan Pompei with the National Football Post.
Eifert and Gresham are a different tandem from Rob Gronkowski and Aaron Hernandez. And Eifert is a different style tight end from Gresham.
"Jermaine has already proven he is a good, solid all-around tight end, solid blocker," Gruden said. "He's a big target for Andy. Tyler is a different dimension, little bit more fluid."
However Gruden is still working out how to utilize Cincinnati's combination of Jermaine Gresham and Eifert this year. Earlier this month Gruden articulated that the team won't necessarily change their offensive philosophy, as much as change groupings and personnel packages. Gruden reiterated that perspective this weekend.
"It's just that our base package will probably feature more two tight ends, two receivers rather than one tight end two backs," Gruden said via National Football Post. "We can get everything in our running game in that personnel group. It's taking out a fullback and putting in a heck of a pass catcher and hopefully a good blocker. We like to mix up our personnel groupings and keep defenses off balance hopefully and be diverse in what we do. Our goal is to get our best players on the field."
Eifert spent the weekend lining up at several positions during Cincinnati's rookie minicamp, including the slot, near the sidelines and his more naturally gifted spot at tight end.
"Day One they already moved me around a lot. That was good. I think I picked it up better than I thought I would have at first," Eifert said told reporters this weekend. "It's not a whole lot, but it's definitely something new for me. I'm catching on pretty quickly and moving around quite a bit.
Marvin Lewis was clearly impressed.
"He's as advertised. What I was most impressed with is how he did a great job in the running game and the techniques he's being taught," Lewis told reporters Friday evening. "I know he can run and catch, and turn get-back shoulder plays and all those kinds of things that you have to do in tight spots in the NFL. I know he can do all that. But the other stuff was impressive today."
Eifert isn't allowed to attend any more team functions until he signs his rookie contract, which is expected to happen soon due to the Collective Bargaining Agreement. Defensive end Ziggy Ansah and safety Kenny Vaccaro, selected No. 5 and 15 have already signed their respective contracts as first-round selections.