The Pittsburgh Steelers have quite the slate of athletic tight ends to face this year. But they’ll only have to see Cincinnati Bengals tight end Tyler Eifert once.
Director of player personnel Duke Tobin had a Q&A with fans on the team website yesterday. In it, he made it seem pretty certain Eifert wouldn’t be able to go early in the year.
Here’s the excerpt. Tobin was responding to a question about the state of the team’s wide receiver corps.
“It’s a position group that’s in flux, and it’s a position group that’s going to have to step up – particularly with Eifert out early in the year.”
Eifert suffered an ankle injury in this year’s Pro Bowl. It seemed minor at first and the team opted against surgery but when it didn’t heal as it should, he went under the knife in late May. At the time, it was thought the surgery would take at least three months to recover. Now, it seems like it’ll be a little more than that aggressive timetable.
It’s worth pointing out that recovery times can change and Eifert is no lock to miss but when the team so nonchalantly says it, it should be anticipated.
He broke out in 2015, catching 52 passes for 615 yards and a whopping 13 touchdowns. Pittsburgh was one of the few teams able to hold him in check. He didn’t fine the end zone in three games against them and only once topped out at over 50 yards. Still, the concerted effort to take him away helped open things up elsewhere and Eifert’s height and speed always made him a big-time threat.
The Steelers and Bengals are slated to link up in Week Two. Cincinnati will already be without Vontaze Burfict due to suspension and now appear likely to try to win without Eifert, too.