Tyler Eifert has been a matchup nightmare for opposing defenses and the Texans know that. Not only has Eifert scored nine touchdowns this season with a remarkable 36 of 37 receptions going for first downs or touchdowns, but at 6'6' and 250 pounds, Eifert is proving hard to defend against.
"Yeah, he's a unique player," Texans head coach Bill O'Brien said of Eifert via the Houston Chronicle. "He's big. He's strong. He's fast. He's explosive. He's got good hands. He's a very smart, good route runner. It's a tough matchup for us, for any team... He's a tough matchup all over the field. Hue does a good job of moving him around, kind of like some of the things that we've done in the past."
The Texans are definitely paying attention to Eifert, especially after his three touchdown performance in Week 9 against the Browns. "Eifert's pretty good. He's like a big receiver," Texans free safety Andre Hal said. "He's pretty fast. We've got to use leverage. We can't just let him run free."
One of the other players who will be defending against Eifert when the Bengals host the 3-5 Texans on Monday Night Football will be strong safety, Quintin Demps. "Good tight end, very good matchup," Demps said of Eifert. "He's in the same world as [Travis] Kelce, no question. We're pros, too."
The Texans are "pros, too" and they will be hoping to get their own tight end back in action for Monday, Ryan Griffin. Griffin was injured in Week 1 when the Texans played the Kansas City Chiefs. Griffin has been on Injured Reserve with the designation to return since and he returned to practice on Monday.
Another Texans tight end, C.J. Fiedorowicz has filled in for his injured teammate with 9 receptions for 89 yards and a touchdown. Garrett Graham has helped out too, with four catches and 30 yards of his own. Fiedorowicz sounds excited to get his teammate back.
"We're trying to get a couple routes with Brian after practice, building confidence," Fiedorowicz said via the Houston Chronicle. "I feel like we're communicating a little bit better, and ultimately, I think that will get us the ball more. There's still a lot of season left. We could be a bigger factor."
O'Brient wasn't as confident about whether Griffin will be returning this week, though not much should be taken from that. "" think he should be ready to play, but you never know," O'Brien said. "He's coming back off of a pretty significant injury, and it's only his first week back. But he's running around pretty good the last couple of days."
While the Texans are 3-5, as Fiedorowicz says, they could be a bigger factor going forward. They're only a half game behind the Indianapolis Colts in the AFC South and the Colts won't be seeing their starting quarterback in action for the next month or so. That's giving the Texans some added motivation to win more games in the second half of the season and the second half of the season begins on Monday night.