Jacksonville Jaguars TE excited for new opportunity with his new team
Can Tyler Eifert get past his injury history to have a larger role in the Jacksonville Jaguars offense this coming season?
I had been banging the drum for the Jacksonville Jaguars to sign free agent tight end Tyler Eifert long before it actually happened. It made too much sense given the Jaguars’ need for help at the tight end position and Eifert’s relationship with the team’s new offensive coordinator Jay Gruden from their time together in Cincinnati. Some relationships continue well beyond one football team.
Hopefully, this is the case, which could turn out to be a real boon for the Jaguars, who have had issues with the tight end position the past few seasons. Eifert met with the local media on Thursday to talk about his new team and Gruden and preparing for the upcoming season here in Jacksonville.
"“It was a big factor. Me and Coach Gruden go back like seven or eight years. We get along great. I have a good understanding for the offense that he runs and a good feel for it,” he said via Zoom.More from Jacksonville Jaguars NewsJacksonville Jaguars should welcome Derrick Henry into the kingdomJaguars Rumors: Trent Baalke seems to be getting respect nowJaguars News: This division rival might be making a big moveFormer Jacksonville Jaguars S Johnathan Cyprien: “New Profession, Same Standards”Jacksonville Jaguars TE Evan Engram officially gets the franchise tag: 3 takeaways“I was in the same city for seven years, but we probably had four or five different offensive coordinators. Learning a new offense can be challenging at times. You feel like you are never going to get it. Eventually over time and all the reps, it clicks. Having that familiarity with the offense is really nice. There is some new stuff in here, but being familiar with it and having a general idea of what’s going on makes it a lot easier to learn.”"
While Eifert himself has had a history of injuries in his career, much like the decimation of the position here in Jacksonville in 2018 and 2019, it did not stop the front office from signing the former first-round pick to a two-year deal with $9,500,000 which includes a $2,250,000 signing bonus and $3,250,000 guaranteed,
Now the veteran is focused on playing ball with his new team and showing his injury issues are a thing of the past.
"“I am excited to do that. When I first got in the league and looked up and saw people going into their seventh or eighth year,” added. “I always looked at them like they were super old. I never imagined actually being in that spot, but time flies and you learn a lot over the years.”"
The Jacksonville Jaguars have James O’Shaughnessy and Josh Oliver returning from injury and added Tyler Davis through the NFL Draft. With the change in offensive style this coming season, there should be more pass plays which should benefit the wide receivers and tight ends on the roster.
Eifert could become quarterback Gardner Minshew’s safety net on short-yardage plays and in the red zone. Red zone consistency was an issue last season. It’ should be a major focus in training camp this year.
Gruden should also open the playbook, which means the passing game could help set up the rushing attack more in 2020. Eifert said he has already talked to his new quarterback and looks forward to getting on the field and connecting in practice.
"“I have talked to him a couple of times on the phone, and he seems like an awesome dude. He is taking charge already. We are doing some group stuff and trying to learn the offense. I have not watched a lot of tape on him, but obviously I saw last year with the mania going on. He seems like a guy that the offense wants to rally behind,” Eifert said.“He seems like he is kind of a fearless leader and you need that when you are on the field and the bullets are flying and things are not going your way. You need that kind of guy that is going to take charge of the huddle and be like, ‘We got this.’ “"