2012: Jermaine Gresham, Orson Charles, Donald Lee, Colin Cochart
2013: Jermaine Gresham, Tyler Eifert, Alex Smith, Orson Charles (maybe), Richard Quinn
Someone viewing this site for the first time in the past year may come to believe that Gresham is the worst offensive player on the team. Yet despite the heavy criticism last season, Jermaine Gresham was achieving numbers that few tight ends have touched in franchise history. Dan Ross (71 receptions in 1981) is the only tight end to record more than Gresham's 64 catches from last season. And Ross is the last tight end to surpass 60 receptions before Gresham. Additionally, Gresham's 737 yards receiving is the most since Tony McGee's memorable 1995 campaign with 754 yards receiving.
Cincinnati largely ran with two active tight ends during games. Orson Charles played a full 16-game schedule during his rookie year, but mostly as a run blocker with experience at special teams.
You might as well throw everything that you know out the window.
Cincinnati's to rebuild their depth at tight end was fairly impressively, adding Tyler Eifert during the NFL draft and Alex Smith through free agency. Richard Quinn, who was signed after Donald Lee suffered an injury last year, returns (but probably not for long). Instead of facing an up-hill battle at the position, the Bengals are experimenting with a switch to H-Back for Charles, possibly competing against starting fullback Chris Pressley for a spot on the 53-man roster.
Thanks to the addition of Eifert, the Bengals may revise their philosophy with an attacking duel tight end. Eifert, capable enough to line up along the line of scrimmage, generates significant match-up problems. Though not as talented as Gresham and Eifert, Smith offers a little more balance.
Your turn. How would you grade the Bengals offseason at tight end?