In the Bengals first two practices of training camp, rookie tight end Tyler Eifert has stood out for catching everything thrown in his direction.
Well almost …
“He missed one with alligator arms – don’t forget about that one,” said Adam Jones with a laugh.
“I did drop one the first day – it drove me nuts,” said Eifert. “If it hits your hands you’re supposed to catch it so that’s what I try to do.”
The Bengals first round draft pick out of Notre Dame has more than compensated for the lone drop by making numerous catches including a few where he was well-covered.
“He one of those guys that if you find a way to put it around him, he finds a way to bring it in,” said Andy Dalton. “He’s definitely going to help this team.”
Although I have not kept statistics, it seems likely that Eifert has had the most receptions of any Bengals receiver in 11-on-11 drills. Is Tyler surprised by the number of passes coming his way?
“Maybe a little bit,” Eifert told me. “I don’t really know how it normally works or who gets a lot of balls, so I’m just trying to get better, make sure I know my assignments, and make the most of my routes.”
“He’s got a great feel for the game,” said offensive coordinator Jay Gruden. “The big thing is getting him introduced to the route concepts and the route tree and let him run them from different spots. He’s making the most of his opportunities.”
Eifert is quickly earning the respect of the players attempting to cover him.
“He’s got a different skill set from a lot of tight ends as far as the way he runs routes,” said Terence Newman. “He’s a big guy but he moves like he could be a big wideout. It’s kind of like the 49ers and the things they do with Vernon Davis. He’s versatile so he can do a lot of different things. He can beat you when he’s attached to the line and he can beat you when they flex him out. He’s going to be somebody to be reckoned with this year to be sure.”
“It’s going to be hard for linebackers to match up with him,” said Jones. “His ‘shake-ability’ is unbelievable and he’s great at getting in and out of breaks. It’s almost like Andrew Hawkins but a little bit slower.”
It’s only been two days and the players haven’t started hitting yet, but Eifert appears to be developing good timing with Dalton.
“I think our chemistry is good,” said Eifert. “I think we’re still developing that trust, but for how early it is, I think that the trust factor is moving along pretty well and he can trust me to do what I’m supposed to do and be in the right spots.”
“That’s very noticeable for the quarterback when he keeps being in the right spot at the right time,” said Gruden. “Andy feels very good about him and very confident with him already.”
“He’s done a good job,” said Dalton. “The way that we’ve been drawing stuff up will make him one of the focal points and he’s one of those guys that seem to catch everything that comes their way.
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