22

September

Packers Periscope: Eyeing the Enemy (Bengals)

After easily dumping the Washington Redskins last Sunday in their home opener, the Green Bay Packers once again hit the road and tomorrow face the Cincinnati Bengals.

The Bengals, like the Packers, are 1-1 and are tied for first place in the AFC North with the defending world champion Baltimore Ravens.  Cincinnati was the chic pick by many to win the AFC North and after an opening day loss to the Chicago Bears, they bounced back nicely against the Pittsburgh Steelers Monday night, defeating their archrival by a score of 20-10.

Despite some accuracy issues by quarterback Andy Dalton, the Bengals were able to move the ball in the second half and a depleted Pittsburgh team just couldn’t keep up.  Rookie running back Giovani Bernard took some of the pressure off of Dalton and helped put the Steelers away.

The last time we met

The last time the Bengals and Packers met, the game ended in heartbreak for Green Bay.  During their Week 2 game in 2009, the Bengals edged the Packers 31-24 after Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers failed to stop the clocked in a frantic last minute drive to score the game-tying touchdown.

This also was the same game former Cincinnati receiver Chad Ochocinco/Johnson performed the Lambeau Leap he was promising/threatening all week. Carson Palmer was able to move the ball down the field almost at will with Green Bay still adjusting to their new 3-4 defense.

The Bengals lead the overall series between the two teams, 6-5.

What’s up in the ‘Nati

The Cincinnati offense has tremendous potential, especially with the acquisition of Bernard in the draft, but like many NFL teams it has a question mark at quarterback.  Since the team went its separate ways with Carson Palmer the Bengals have placed their faith in Andy Dalton, the third year quarterback out of TCU.

Dalton’s performance thus far has been rather, well, average.  To date, he has thrown 50 touchdown passes in his career to 31 interceptions.   Dalton is one of those solid yet unspectacular quarterbacks, much like Kyle Orton when he was with the Chicago Bears.  There remains a lot of doubt about whether or not Dalton can take the Bengals to the next level, especially with how much talent is now around him on the offense.

6

March

NFL Draft Prospect Profile: Tyler Eifert, TE Notre Dame

Tyler Eifert

Notre Dame TE Tyler Eifert

Green Bay Packers NFL Draft prospect profile: TE Tyler Eifert

Player Information:

Tyler Eifert, TE Notre Dame
6-6, 250 pounds
Hometown: Fort Wayne, IN

STATS: College statistics

NFL Combine:

40-yard dash: 4.68 seconds
Bench press: 22 reps
Vertical jump: 35.5 inches
Broad jump: 119 inches
3-cone drill: 6.92 seconds
20-yard shuttle: 4.32 seconds
60-yard shuttle: 11.52 seconds

News and Notes:

Production was somewhat hurt in 2012 by having a freshman QB and constant double teams. … Still led Notre Dame with 50 catches for 685 yards and four touchdowns to win the Mackey Award as the nation’s top TE. … Caught 63 passes for 803 yards in 2011. … Son of former Purdue basketball player Greg Eifert.

 What they’re saying about him:

  • WalterFootball.com: “Eifert is an NFL-ready pass catcher. He has good speed running down the middle seam with excellent hands. Eifert is fearless leaping in the middle of the field to make tough catches despite knowing that massive hits are coming his direction. He showed real toughness for the Fighting Irish. Eifert is very good on third down to help move the chains. He gains separation on linebackers and is too big for defensive backs. Eifert should be a real contributor in the passing game early in his NFL career..”
  • NFL.com: ”Still growing as a blocker and needs to use better angles. Stronger linebackers will rip off his blocks and ride him off his route when he does not use his hands effectively. Allows throws into his body on occasion, will drop the ball when trying to run before securing.”

Video:

Video Analysis:

  • I like what I see when Eifert blocks on the second and third levels against smaller linebackers and defensive backs. He doesn’t lunge or whiff often.
  • Blocking DEs/OLBs is a different story. He doesn’t seem to have the size to hold up or the quickness to make reach blocks.
  • I really like what I see on his routes. He’s fast and works well in traffic.
  • I can also see Eifert doing some damage on seam routes against slower LBs and safeties, or even against small slot corners.
  • Uses his height and lanky frame well. Goes up and grabs passes with his hands.
  • His quickness off the line should help him get into his routes early against press coverage.
24

February

2013 NFL Draft Preview: Ranking Packers Tight End Prospects

Notre Dame TE Tyler Eifert

Notre Dame TE Tyler Eifert

The 2013 NFL Draft offers a deep crop of tight ends, headlined by Notre Dame’s Tyler Eifert and Stanford’s Zach Ertz. Both players can do everything NFL teams ask tight ends to do, but the class is much deeper than just the top two.

A handful of NFL-ready tight ends figure to come off the board on day two. And with the uncertain future of Jermichael Finley in Green Bay, the Packers could be in the market for a tight end at some point in this year’s draft.

Let’s take a closer look at the top ten tight ends in this year’s draft. There aren’t many surprises, although one player in my top ten wasn’t even invited to this year’s NFL Scouting Combine.

1. Tyler Eifert, Notre Dame (6-5 250)

  • Draft stock: Late 1st
  • 40 time: 4.68, Vertical: 35.5″, 225-pound bench: 22 reps
  • Two-year starter, averaged 55.5 receptions, 713.5 yards and 4.5 touchdowns per year as a starter.
  • Backed up current Minnesota Vikings tight end Kyle Rudolph as a sophomore but still managed to find the field, recording 27 receptions for 352 yards and two touchdowns.

2. Zach Ertz, Stanford (6-5 249)

  • Draft stock: Late 1st / Early 2nd
  • 40 time: 4.76, Vertical: 30.5″, 225-pound bench: 24 reps
  • One-year starter, caught 66 passes for 837 yards and six touchdowns as the starter in 2012.
  • Until his senior season, Ertz played behind current Indianapolis Colts tight end Coby Fleener at Stanford. As a reserve during his sophomore and junior campaign, Ertz caught a combined 43 passes for 536 yards and nine touchdowns.

3. Travis Kelce, Cincinnati (6-4 255)

  • Draft stock: 2nd Round
  • Kelce did not work out at the NFL Scouting Combine.
  • One-year starter, caught 45 passes for 722 yards and eight touchdowns as the starter in 2012.
  • Caught 13 passes as a junior in 2011, after being forced to sit out the 2010 season due to an undisclosed violation of team rules.

4. Gavin Escobar, San Diego St. (6-5 254)

  • Draft stock: 3rd Round
  • 40 time: 4.84, Vertical: 32″, 225-pound bench: DNP
  • Three year-starter, averaged 40.6 catches for 548.6 yards and 5.6 touchdowns per year.
  • Appeared in all 13 games as a junior but started only six after a midseason hand injury, started the final 12 games of his sophomore season.