If the Bengals offense is to improve this season, they'll need to get more production from the tight ends. The combination of Tyler Eifert and Jermaine Gresham caught six touchdowns in 2013.
Eleven other tight ends caught six or more TDs last year on their own. The expectation last year was that Eifert and Gresham would combine to form one of the more devastating 2-TE combos.
That didn't happen, but it could happen this year. Eifert is entering Year 2, and Gresham is in a contract year looking for his first big NFL deal.
That's why expectations for those two are high, and could be why SB Nation's Danny Kelley ranked the Bengals' TEs among the league's best units.
He ranked them in 'the damn good' tier, right beneath the 'elites'.
Jermaine Gresham, a former first-rounder and two-time Pro Bowler, shared the spotlight with rookie Tyler Eifert in 2013 and the two combined for 85 catches, 903 yards and six touchdowns. Both bring different skills to the table -- Gresham is more of a traditional tight end at 6'5, 260 pounds and Eifert is the new-school type of "move" tight end with high-level athleticism and the ability to run routes more like a receiver -- and both should be heavily targeted by Andy Dalton in 2014.
The wild card is 2012 fourth-rounder Orson Charles, who I list here at his original position as tight end, though he played fullback in 2013. Charles' versatility and history as a pass catcher factors in and rounds out a really deep group of tight ends for the Bengals.
NFL.com's Chris Wesseling wasn't quite as high on Eifert and Gresham. In his preseason TEs rankings, he put Eifert in the 'Potential vs. production' tier, while he placed Gresham in the 'Diminishing Role' group.
It's true that Gresham's role is diminishing with the team, but that doesn't mean the Bengals won't try and get everything they possibly can out of him in his final year.
Either way, the Bengals need to get more production out of their TEs this season.