The Bengals tried utilizing the 2-tight end formation in 2013 after drafting Tyler Eifert in the first round to pair with Jermaine Gresham.
The results were not quite as good as everyone had hoped for, as the two combined to catch just 84 passes for 903 yards and just six scores.
The catches and yardage was decent, but two 6'5", 250+ pound guys should be nightmares in the red zone for opposing defenses and score more than six times.
Eifert in particular was disappointing, or the way he was used was at least. Viewed as a guy who could play TE and wide receiver in certain sets, Eifert registered only 681 snaps in 16 games, while Gresham got 901 in 16 games.
Per Geoff Hobson, the coaches thought Eifert should have gotten more opportunities to showcase himself last year, and he'll get those chances more in 2014.
The coaches were far from pleased with Gresham last year and there was a sense that Eifert didn't get the chances everyone thought he was going to get as a rookie. Particularly deep. In the afterglow when he dropped to them in the first round, the thinking was they had just caught a guy that was going to catch 50-60 balls and he ended up with 39.
I think he gets more this year and he scores more than two TDs. Methinks Jackson is going to wear him out deep down the middle of the field.
As for Gresham, entering the final year of his rookie contract, he's not going to get phased out of this offense to make way for the younger Eifert. No, the Bengals plan to use he and Eifert in more 2-TE sets and give both of them opportunities to make an impact.
But I don't think it is at the expense of Gresham. No question Gresham fell off last year. But Marvin Lewis thinks he can tame his raging inconsistencies. And he's extremely important in the suddenly important running game because he's regarded as an underrated and effective blocker.
From all indications, Jackson is committed to two tight end sets, so I don't see Gresham disappearing. What is interesting is that both Gresham (unknown) and Eifert (shoulder) missed the spring with injuries and we barely saw two tight ends.