Before the 2014 season, Bengals fans were continuously pouring on the hype toward former first round pick, Tyler Eifert. Dreams of a monster two-tight end set were floating in Bengaldom, and with the hope that Jermaine Gresham would finally live up to his potential, Bengals fans were hoping they'd see an offense that would be unstoppable for the 2014 season.
That fantasy ended quickly and the hype surrounding Eifert quickly burst when he exited the Bengals' Week 1 game against the Baltimore Ravens with an elbow injury after having three receptions early in the game. He never returned last season.
Gresham went on to be an injury statistic like the rest of the offense in 2014, didn't play in the playoffs and the Bengals were all to do about nothing in the Wild Card round and one-and-dones in the playoffs for the fourth straight season.
However, in 2015, the fantasy of Tyler Eifert is back and very much alive in Cincinnati. After being spoken of as "uncoverable" by Bengals coaches, and after we'd seen videos of what he was doing in the offseason, Bengals fans were quietly, excitedly allowing the hype surrounding the third year tight end to build back up.
And in the first week of the season against the Raiders, we finally saw why all of that attention and more was deserved for Eifert. The former Notre Dame star had 9 catches for 104 yards and two touchdowns, and as Bengals radio announcer Dan Hoard recited Brian Kelly's line from the Fighting Irish, he does in fact "turn field goals into touchdowns."
He's a mismatching nightmare that the Bengals can't wait to see more of. Quite simply, he's too big for cornerbacks to battle downfield , and he's too fast for most linebackers to have a chance against. Remember what Owen Daniels did against the Bengals linebacker core when the team couldn't seem to find a way to beat the Texans? Eifert is about to do the same to opposing defenses.
He's the perfect definition of a red zone target, as Andy Dalton quickly discovered in the Week 1 game against Oakland. As Dave Lapham mentioned on the Bengals' radio network, when you have a receiver that dynamic who controls the middle of the field, it allows the playmakers on the perimeter to open things up for Dalton in the passing game.
And if all goes according to plan, we'll be seeing a lot of that this season.