(Tyler Eifert photos courtesy of the Cincinnati Bengals)
Talk of Fame Network
Cincinnati’s Tyler Eifert has more touchdown catches than any tight end out there this season, and, yes, that includes New England’s Rob Gronkowski. Eifert has nine; Gronk has eight.
But it’s not touchdown catches … or catches, period … that is Eifert’s measure of a tight end. It’s the complete package, and that means a tight end who can catch and block. Eifert can do both, one reason the undefeated Bengals keep him on the field at all times.
“Blocking,” he told the Talk of Fame Network’s latest broadcast, which features tight ends, “is not always the easiest thing for me. But it’s something I’ve worked hard at. I’m always willing to put my face in there and do what I can to help us win.”
That hasn’t been a problem. Halfway through the season Eifert is tied for the Bengals’ franchise record for touchdown catches by a tight end, and Cincinnati is off to its best start (8-0) in club history. But, as Eifert pointed out, he doesn’t measure tight ends by statistics alone.
“There are guys who don’t play to the whistle,” he said. “They maybe put their hands on a guy, and then they’re done. There are only a certain number of guys that are always a blocker when they don’t have the ball, trying to help the other receivers get more yards (and) help the running backs get more yards.
“That’s a big part of it. It doesn’t really matter how fast or athletic you are. If you’re catching balls and making plays and concentrating on that … that has to be the number-one thing.”
So whom does Eifert consider the best at the position? Good question. But Eifert had a ready answer.
“I’ll go with Gronk,” he said. “It may be a pass-first league with the tight end, and there are a lot of tight ends who may say they’re willing to block, but they’ll turn that down if they can. He’s one of those guys who’s a good blocker … obviously a phenomenal pass catcher … and a guy who’s produced the past couple of years. So, yeah, I’d definitely say him.”