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Bengals training camp 2018: Overreaction to Tyler Eifert; Billy Price welcomed to the NFL

The media is establishing a narrative that fans are overreacting to Tyler Eifert’s placement on PUP. Is that really the case? And Billy Price is a rookie learning on the job.

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Cleveland Browns v Cincinnati Bengals Photo by John Grieshop/Getty Images

Tyler Eifertunderstands why Bengals fans and media were in an uproar” after he was officially placed on the Active/Physically Unable to Perform list prior to Thursday’s practice, as The Cincinnati Enquirer wrote. And (aka, the mothership), wrote that “Bengaldom reeled in horror” when Eifert was PUP’ed.

Is this really the case?

Were you uproarious? Were you reeling in horror? It’s currently 4:50 a.m. as I’m writing this; troubled sleep is usually a pattern of a troubled mind, but I can assure you that my woolgathered thoughts have nothing to do with Eifert. Or the Bengals. Or the NFL. Or sports.

A more accurate delineation might be “dignified resignation” or “passive indifference”; because we were already emotionally prepared for this outcome.

Tyler Eifert, who could earn sponsorship dollars as the new face of Operation, tweaked his back while picking up a football during spring practices. This adds to an accumulating inventory of dings, tweaks, dislocations, bruises, scrapes, scratches, wounds, bites, and concussions that have limited him to only appearing in 39 games over five seasons and only 10 since his lone Pro Bowl appearance in 2015 (where he hurt his ankle).

And no one knows when he’ll be ready.

Eifert confidently boasts that he’ll play against the Indianapolis Colts this September. “Yeah,” Eifert said via Cincinnati Enquirer, “100 percent.”

See, nothing to worry about.

If anything, Cincinnati is being cautious. Even Eifert said that PUP wasn’t even a certainty. “It’s funny, we almost didn’t want to do this (PUP list) just because of all the media and drama that comes with it,” Eifert said via the Enquirer. “But it doesn’t matter, we are doing what’s best for the team and me and so the thought of doing something so there is not an uproar is just insane.”

There is no uproar.

No one is reeling in horror.

Cincinnati is justified in their approach. Back injuries are tricky things; one setback can end a season, if not terminate a career. Why risk it in July? Take a week off, Tyler. Fans know this. We understand it. Give us some credit, would you?

If Eifert plays Cincinnati’s regular season opener, who cares about yesterday, today, or tomorrow? With the exception of learning Bill Lazor’s new playbook, which is more mental preparation in the classroom, his on-field absence today isn’t going to impact his role in September.

Talented folks like Eifert are too valuable; he’s a nightmare for slow linebackers and undersized defensive backs. That’s all we care about. September. When he’s ready, he’s playing.

However, his placement on the PUP list isn’t a surprise. You’ve probably braced for this eventuality ever since he signed his one-year deal back in March. You might even joke about how Samuel L. Jackson is using Eifert as motivation for his upcoming film Glass; perhaps there’s a pinch of cynicism mixed in. But you were prepared for it.

This was enhanced all summer when head coach Marvin Lewis remained noncommittal about his Eifert’s return. Lewis quickly offered reassurances that everything was proceeding according to plan, but refused to comment on his tight end’s availability for training camp. Another report emerged, on the eve of training camp, that Eifert probably won’t be ready Thursday.

In the end, Cincinnati is approaching Eifert cautiously. When everyone signs off on his availability and feels comfortable about his return, he’ll join his teammates between the hashes and cause our poor defense to sob. Until then, fans can swoon at John Ross’s touchdown over Dre Kirkpatrick.

Rookie center with his rookie moments

NFL: Cincinnati Bengals-Minicamp Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports

Billy Price was one of three major changes to Cincinnati’s offensive line — the hiring of Frank Pollack and the trade for Cordy Glenn being the other two. During Thursday’s practice, Price took first-team snaps and dropped a few exchanges.

Before you reel in horror, you should probably understand that these issues should have been expected; Price spent most of his Ohio State career snapping the ball from shotgun. Now he’s re-learning how to exchange the football with a quarterback under his gluteus maximus.

“A couple of things we’ve got to change, like snapping when the ball is supposed to be snapped. Don’t tail it when we’re running right on my right butt cheek and keep it on the contact point at all times,” Price said via

Price is also practicing against world class athletes and a probable Hall of Famer in Geno Atkins.

“Yeah, you’re not used to that speed.” said Price via the mothership. “I haven’t played football since Dec. 29 and the last guys I played against were college guys. Playing against professional athletes, we’ve got some talented, quick guys over there and I wasn’t expecting it. I guess I undervalued their quickness. It was my first day, so I will get that corrected. It was my fault,”


The first day of a player’s career usually doesn’t go well; there’s a significant increase in talent when jumping from college players to the NFL. However, now is a great time for Price to learn, process, and adjust. And Atkins is a great player to prepare against.

“Geno is every bit as advertised. First day, I’ve got to fix some things. Obviously the under center snap isn’t something we did at Ohio State. You’ve got to learn by fire,” said Price.

In other offensive line news:

  • Cedric Ogbuehi worked right tackle with the first team unit. Jake Fisher rotated behind Ogbuehi. These rotations are somewhere meaningless at the moment and shouldn’t indicate any favorable outcome for the right tackle vacancy.
  • Similarly, Trey Hopkins worked with the first-team squad at right guard, with Alex Redmond rotating in and taking snaps with the first-team unit. Christian Westerman, who was placed on the active Non-Football Injury list for a viral infection, was not in the mix.