There were so many things that were frustrating for Bengals fans to watch in the 22-20 loss to the Miami Dolphins this past Thursday night. Hearts sunk when the teams best defensive player, DT Geno Atkins, was lost for the season when he tore his ACL in the second quarter. In addition to the Atkins loss, RB Giovani Bernard injured his ribs in the 4th quarter after having a huge game up to that point, the injury is not believed to be serious. Other frustrations included Andy Dalton throwing 3 interceptions (2 of which were his fault in my opinion), there were also several dropped passes by receivers including 1 by AJ Green, 1 by Jermaine Gresham, and a few costly drops by Mohamed Sanu. A terrible holding call on Jermaine Gresham in the 3rd quarter also whipped out a Marvin Jones touchdown and later in the that same drive Dalton threw an interception to Brent Grimes which he returned 94 yards for a TD. The game ended in overtime on a questionable safety call when Andy Dalton was sacked by Dolphins DE Cameron Wake in the end zone. Wake had 3 sacks in the game. The Bengals had there chances to win late in the 4th quarter and again in overtime but were unable to close it out. Read a more in depth recap on the game by clicking here.
I remember a few years back feeling like the Tight End position was one of the weakest position groups on the Cincinnati Bengals depth chart. Reggie Kelly was a solid blocker and a great teammate but there wasn’t a major receiving threat at the position for many years prior to the 2010 season. Heading into the 2013 season it has the potential to be one of the strongest position groups on the team. 2010 1st round draft pick Jermaine Gresham (pictured below) has been solid since he entered the league and for the most part has shown consistent growth each season. Last season he had career highs in receptions (64), receiving yards (737), and yards per reception (11.5) while catching 5 TD’s and becoming the first Bengals TE to have 3 consecutive seasons with 50 or more receptions.
The Bengals surprised many by using their 2013 1st round draft pick to select another TE in Notre Dame’s Tyler Eifert (pictured below). Eifert, like Gresham, is another big body at 6’6″ and 250 lbs. Eifert was a 2012 All American and had the third best performance by a TE in Notre Dame history as he had 50 receptions for 685 yards (13.7 yards per catch) and 4 TD’s as a senior. It’s fun to daydream about what Bengals offensive coordinator Jay Gruden may concoct with both Gresham and Eifert potentially being on the field at the same time.
Veteran Tight End Alex Smith (pictured below) was signed as a free agent earlier in the offseason, he spent the past 3 seasons in Cleveland and is a solid blocker. The Bengals also have 2012 4th round TE Orson Charles on the roster who seems to have solid hands & speed, he has also been getting some work at the fullback position at the teams OTA’s. Charles had 8 receptions for 101 yards last year during his rookie season. Richard Quinn is also fighting for a roster spot, he was a 2nd round pick back in 2009 by the Denver Broncos but has yet to play in a game for the Bengals.
Word has it that the Bengals may possibly keep up to 4 TE’s on the roster heading into the 2013 season, we shall see! With the solid depth at this position, the addition of 2nd round RB Giovani Bernard, and a stable of young talented receivers (A.J. Green, Mohamed Sanu, Marvin Jones, & Andrew Hawkins) it’s exciting to think about the offensive possibilities.
Dream dream dream.
The 2013 NFL Draft has now passed us and the Bengals are once again getting high grades from most draft experts. The team surprised many with their 1st round pick as they selected Notre Dame TE Tyler Eifert who was the highest rated TE coming into the draft. Tight End was not a top need for the team but Eifert along with TE Jermaine Gresham could become a scary tandem for teams to try to defend. Two tight ends of their caliber could provide numerous options for offensive coordinator Jay Gruden and the team clearly intends to own the middle of the field on offense. In the 2nd round the Bengals selected RB Giovani Bernard who could be the change of pace back they need to compliment Benjarvus Green-Ellis. They also drafted 6′ 8″ DE Margus Hunt and SS Shawn Williams in the 2nd and 3rd rounds. Seven of the teams ten picks were offensive.
2013 Cincinnati Bengals Draft Class:
Rd 1, Pick 21 (21) Eifert, Tyler TE (Notre Dame)
Rd 2, Pick 5 (37) Bernard, Giovani RB (North Carolina)
Rd 2, Pick 21 (53) Hunt, Margus DE (Southern Methodist)
Rd 3, Pick 22 (84) Williams, Shawn SS (Georgia)
Rd 4, Pick 21 (118) Porter, Sean OLB (Texas A&M)
Rd 5, Pick 23 (156) Hawkinson, Tanner OT (Kansas)
Rd 6, Pick 22 (190) Burkhead, Rex RB (Nebraska)
Rd 6, Pick 29 (197) Hamilton, Cobi WR (Arkansas)
Rd 7, Pick 34 (240) Fragel, Reid OT (Ohio State)
Rd 7, Pick 45 (251) Johnson, T.J. C (South Carolina)
In addition to the draft the team announced this past Friday that starting right tackle Andre Smith signed a 3 year, $18 million deal which is good news. Smith was the top rated RT in the league last year and bringing him back allowed the team to have more flexibility in the draft.