Keith Butler says Tyler Eifert will be a challenge for the Pittsburgh Steelers this Sunday.
I have good news for Butler. Eifert is on injured reserve with a broken ankle. Challenge accepted.
It’s another frustrating moment for the Steelers’ defensive coordinator, who made the comments in his sitdown with Bob Labriola on this week’s Coordinator’s Corner (Ed Note: the interview has been removed). Most of the interview was fine. Short, sweet, the generalities we’ve heard from the coaching staff all season. There’s improvement, we still gotta get better, nothing counts unless we win. Inoffensive, predictable, all that boring jazz.
Until the last question.
“I think he’s very good,” Butler said on Eifert. “He’s up there. He can get deep on you. He does a good job of catching the ball downfield. So he’s going to be a problem for us to cover.”
To be fair, Butler was asked about Eifert, he didn’t bring him up on his own. Still. C’mon Keith. Know who the opponent has. I’m not asking for much.
The Bengals tight end hasn’t played since September 30th. Eifert suffered a brutal ankle injury that day. Here’s the video if you dare to check it out but seriously, it isn’t pretty. Evidently, his rehab is on the right track, he’s out of his walking boot, and will hopefully be close to a full recovery by the time he hits free agency this offseason.
But no, he’s not suiting up on Sunday.
It’s a Freudian slip. A gaffe. I get it. Butler isn’t a dummy and he gave some answers in the interview that had Sean McVay said it, ESPN would get weak in the knees. Butler pointed out one of QB’s Jeff Driskel runs came on a designed power on 3rd and 4, a 100% true statement that happened last weekend. He knew that Tyler Boyd’s status was uncertain coming off a knee injury.
But. Gahhhhhh. This is the stuff that’s frustrating. Eifert’s been out for a long time, he went down before the first Steelers/Bengals matchup and even me – a self-admitted idiot – knew C.J. Uzomah is their starting tight end.
It’s another piece from our outside view that makes it hard to have faith in Butler. There’s been good moments, there are things he’s done well as a defensive coordinator, but then there’s…this. Where you just shake your head and wonder what the heck is going on. A very relevant question to ask about this entire team should they miss out on the playoffs.
Update: Here’s the audio file of the interview. You can listen to the question and answer beginning at the 4:32 mark.
UPDATE: Eifert has now weighed in on Butler’s comments about him on Twitter.
— Tyler Eifert (@tylereifert) December 28, 2018