Injuries hit all over the Bengals’ roster during all parts of the 2018 season.
A total of seven new starters took the field in their Week 17 loss to the Steelers, but the season-long misfortune wasn’t enough to keep Mike Brown from moving on from Marvin Lewis as the head coach and hiring Zac Taylor.
Tight end Tyler Eifert and defensive tackle Ryan Glasgow accounted for two spots on last year’s Injured Reserve list, but Taylor got some good news when both players expressed optimism regarding their eventual return to the practice field for July’s training camp. Eifert in fact is already participating on a limited basis.
“I’m doing pretty much everything,” Eifert told Fletcher Page of the Cincinnati Enquirer. “There’s a couple things here and there but for the most part it’s all doing everything with the guys.”
Eifert is recovering from an ankle injury he suffered early last season against the Falcons. It required surgery, and it was probably the most gruesome injury to be added to Eifert’s long list of injury history.
Playing on another one-year deal, Eifert’s future with the Bengals remains as murky as ever. Cincinnati gave C.J. Uzomah a three-year deal this offseason, and they also spent a second-round pick on Drew Sample.
It is easy to imagine a world where the Bengals allow Eifert to walk whether he posts a season reminiscent of his 2015 campaign, or ends up on I.R. once more. Either the open market will value him more than they do, or he becomes too much of a question mark to be brought back again.
Eifert’s absence was felt immediately and immensely, but don’t forget how thin the Bengals’ rotation at defensive tackle became when Glasgow went down. During his rookie season, Glasgow had shown he was able to contribute as a rotational player. He played 29 more snaps in his first three games compared to the same stretch of games in 2017, but a torn ACL cut his second season short.
Glasgow also plans to return for training camp.
“Everything is really good,” Glasgow said. “I can’t complain. I’m just getting more comfortable with it, running and cutting. I’m doing d-line drills and stuff like that, but I’m really eager to get into the camp setting in July and getting cleared and getting ready to go.”
Glasgow will obviously be in some major competitions for snaps in 2019. Geno Atkins is going to get his no matter what, but then you have guys like Andrew Billings, Josh Tupou, Christian Ringo, Andrew Brown and rookie Renell Wren. You should also expect to see a healthy dose of Sam Hubbard, Jordan Willis and even newly acquired Kerry Wynn lining up inside on passing downs like last season.
There are a lot of names trying to earn those snaps, but if Glasgow can return to his early-2018 form, he shouldn’t have to worry about getting his fair share.