Most of us have been under the assumption that it will be business as usual for the Bengals at the tight end position. There has been some success with the Bengals at the position. Jermaine Gresham has put up some great numbers for the team and at times, has been involved in some huge plays. Tyler Eifert came in as advertised with some great hands and the ability to catch the ball down the field.
Both also have their weaknesses. Gresham has been known to make a bad false start or fumble when trying to do too much. Eifert has trouble with blocking and getting off blocks at times.
Do the Bengals enter this season as they ended last? Will Gresham top the depth chart with Eifert closely behind?
For the fantasy football players among us, there is probably a desire for one of these guys to step up and take the dominant role. The Bengals don't shy away from using the tight end and with the new offense installed by Hue Jackson, the pass catching tight end could get even more opportunities. If one guy holds the spot, his fantasy value could sky rocket.
But, this isn't fantasy. The Bengals would be foolish not to use both the weapons they have at their disposal, even if they are different. I think Gresham probably gets the bulk of the snaps this season. As a guy that figures to be involved in the running game as a blocker, he seems to hold up better than Eifert. It's no secret that Hue is looking to bolster the run production for the Bengals and anyone that fits the mold of a run blocker is probably going to be looked at favorably.
In the end, the Bengals are in a win-win situation at the tight end position. In Gresham they have a guy that has given 218 receptions for 2,262 yards and 19 touchdowns. Eifert has added 39 receptions for 445 yards and two touchdowns. Not bad combined stats for the position over the last few years.
I think we see more of the same in terms of the depth chart. Rather than call one a starter and one a backup I will refer to them as 1a and 1b. The hope is that they both become key to the offense and both spend time on the field together. Imagine that lineup in the new offense. The defense won't know what to expect with a look like that and some real running threat to back it up.