Quarterback Dalton, Bengals enjoying using two tight ends in offense
If you have them, you might as well use them.
That's Cincinnati coach Marvin Lewis' thought after he used a first-round pick in April on Notre Dame tight end Tyler Eifert despite already having a more-than-capable tight end in Jermaine Gresham.
Lewis used his tight ends a lot during an opening-week loss to Chicago. Out of Cincinnati's 55 offensive plays, 33 included both Gresham and Eifert on the field at the same time.
Quarterback Andy Dalton looked their way often, and they were efficient when he decided to throw in their direction. Eifert and Gresham were targeted five times each against the Bears and both finished with five catches — Eifert 5 for 47 yards and Gresham 5 for 35 yards.
One of the plays the Bengals used in order to take advantage of an attacking Bears defense was the flow left play-action boot underneath drag that featured Eifert's speed and pass-catching abilities.
Surely, the Bengals will use the play in some fashion Monday night in order to slow down the pass rush-happy outside linebackers of the Steelers.
The Bengals used their two tight ends in a variety of formations last week, including unbalanced, balanced, one lined up in the slot or a combination of all three.
On the flow left play-action boot underneath drag, the Bengals line up with a strong left formation with Gresham on the end of the line and Eifert next to him but off the line. Receiver Mohamed Sanu lines up in the slot to the weak side, and fellow receiver A.J. Green flexes out wide right.
At the snap, the offensive line fires off the ball hard to the left to bait the defense into thinking the play is going to be an outside zone stretch run by tailback BenJarvus Green-Ellis. The play-action motion gets the defense flowing to the right and eventually out of position.
Gresham crosses just behind in the inside linebackers about 10 yards down the field, Green runs a deep out, and Sanu cracks the left outside linebacker from the slot, allowing Dalton to roll to the right.
The play is designed for Eifert, who will cross behind the formation at the snap and turn up quickly and out just outside the tackle box on the play side of the formation.
The design of the play forces a linebacker to run with Eifert across the formation despite having to first honor the run action to the opposite side.
The Bengals ran the play twice against the Bears but in two different formations. Both were successful.
“(Eifert) is smart. He understands football, and he's been a great complement to Jermaine,” Lewis said. “Jermaine is so physically talented and does such good things as a receiver. Now, we've got two guys that we feel good about.”
It will be the responsibility of the Steelers linebackers and safeties to prevent the Bengals from relying on their tight ends and especially in the flow left play-action boot underneath drag.
Mark Kaboly is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. Reach him at email@example.com or via Twitter @MarkKaboly_Trib.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Veteran LB Harrison: Steelers must play to way defense is set up
- Steelers notebook: Fully healthy, rookie WR Bryant progressing fast
- ‘Big play’ moniker fits veteran Steelers cornerback Gay
- Steelers’ prime-time games shrink attendance at Heinz Field
- Steelers notebook: Roethlisberger, offense must adjust with CB Smith out
- Steelers offense puts up gaudy numbers in season’s 1st half
- Roethlisberger’s performance arguably among NFL’s greatest
- Steelers notebook: Offensive lineman Adams returns to reserve role
- Greene expects Steelers jersey retirement ceremony to get emotional
- Steelers notebook: Ex-Steeler Sanders living up to his word
- Robinson: Rooney retains North Side roots