So far this season, the Pittsburgh Steelers defense has had more than their share of problems when it comes to covering opposing team’s tight ends. On Sunday against the Cincinnati Bengals, they’ll face yet another great tight end in the form of Tyler Eifert and head coach Mike Tomlin apparently isn’t taking him lightly.
“Tyler Eifert, their young, talented tight end has been a big component of their offense and their offensive success this year,” said Tomlin during his Tuesday press conference. “[He’s] building a great report with [quarterback] Andy Dalton. He’s a big and easy target to throw to, he’s a vertical receiving threat for a tight end. They can displace him from the core and he can play in a two-point stance and stretch the field vertically and run routes like receiver.”
Through their first seven games of the 2015 season, the Steelers defense has allowed opposing tight ends to catch 44 passes for 465 yards and 6 touchdowns and only the New York Giants and Atlanta Falcons have allowed more catches to that position, according to my research.
On Tuesday, Tomlin was asked to comment on what he’s seen on tape so far this season that has led to his defense giving up so many catches, yards and touchdowns to opposing tight ends.
“Nothing groundbreaking or earth-shattering, really,” said Tomlin. “Those guys have done to us what we’ve seen them do to others and our job is to try to minimize that. And we’ve got another challenge this week because Tyler’s video has been impressive to this point in the year.
“We’ll try to use all of our tools at our disposal, all the men and all the schematics to work to minimize him and hopefully we end up with a different result than we’ve had in some of those other instances.”
As the Bengals come out of their bye week, Eifert is currently second on the team in receptions as he has registered 28 of them for 342 yards and 6 touchdowns. Additionally, four of his catches have gone for 20 yards or more and have amounted to nearly one-third of his total receiving yards. In other words, I hope one of the tools that the Steelers defense has at their disposal this coming Sunday is a lead pipe as that might be the only way they’re able to slow down Eifert at Heinz Field.
2015 Tight End Stats Versus Steelers Defense