Hue Jackson's offense had been moving the ball and churning up yards and tight end Tyler Eifert was a beneficiary of a lot of the production (three receptions, 37 yards receiving). Unfortunately, this production didn't lead to many points for the Bengals, who were leading 6-0 by the end of the first quarter during opening weekend last year. The bigger story lied with Eifert, who had made his third catch of the quarter. After fighting for extra yards after a nice catch in the red zone, the second-year tight end writhed on the ground grasping his elbow. As CBS cut to commercial, it didn't look good at the brief glance they gave.
Eifert's dislocated elbow not only changed the philosophy of the game, it changed the entire season. It was unfortunate for the second-year player and first-year offensive coordinator, who had pegged Eifert with a significant role that year.
The injury hasn't changed much and the Bengals plan to primarily use two tight ends in 2015, per the mothership. It just depends on who will be the "tight end" opposite of Tyler Eifert:
There’s no question that offensive coordinator Hue Jackson wants to go with two tight ends more than he did last season, but he’s also not looking to take weapons like running backs
Giovani Bernardand Rex Burkheadand wide receivers Mohamed Sanuand James Wrightcompletely off the field.
The double tight formation is going to be a work in progress because of the experience factor. Whether it’s been Reggie Kelly or Jermaine Gresham or Donald Lee or Alex Smith, they’ve always seemed to have a veteran with a lot of snaps at that spot. Not now.
Tyler Eifertand Ryan Hewitt, with one year under their belts each, are the most experienced guys ahead of five first-year players. So while they’ll definitely employ more two tight ends than they did in ’14, I doubt it would approach the number of snaps like it did in ’13, when Gresham and Eifert combined for more than 1,500 plays.