The Jaguars have not been able to find consistent play at the tight end position since the departure of Marcedes Lewis following the 2017 season. But even when Lewis was lining up for the Jaguars on Sunday's, he was rarely a significant threat as a receiver; no, Lewis more the blocking type.
Simply put, the Jaguars have stunk when it comes to getting receiving production from their tight ends.
But that's likely to change in 2020.
With Jay Gruden calling the shots, Tyler Eifert, James O'Shaughnessy, Josh Oliver, Tyler Davis, and Charles Jones will have plenty of opportunities to make plays in the passing game, particularly in the games key moments. Gruden loves to use tight ends on third down and in the red zone.
"You can double receivers all you want to," said Gruden. "It's hard to double tight ends, and tight ends really are a key component down there in the red zone and on third down, and they're a quarterback's best friend."
Gruden regularly fed Eifert the ball in Cincinnati. In Washington, he featured Vernon Davis and Jordan Reed, who both had some big-time production under Jay Gruden.
It's safe to say that the Jaguars' first-year offensive coordinator will lean on Tyler Eifert heavily in 2020.
"You know, the passes don't have to be 25 yards down the field," said Gruden. "They can be option routes, choice routes, inbreaking routes, you know, quicker type element passes if you have that tight end. And I think that adding Tyler Eifert; he's done that, he's run the option route with a fly, he's lined up outside. He makes the defense show their hand a little bit. Who's covering him? If it's man to man, the safety's got him, you know. So, the quarterback knows if this is man to man, I know where to go with the football."
Eifert has all the talent in the world. The only issue that's held him back throughout his career is health. But in 2019, he played in every game for the Bengals, catching 46 passes for 436 yards and three touchdowns.
The Jaguars' tight ends will have plenty of pressure on them to perform in 2020, but Gruden likes what he sees.
"Josh Oliver showed a lot of promise as a rookie. Unfortunately, he had injuries. You know, James (O'Shaughnessy) did some good things, but then he got hurt. And then Charles (Jones), the rookie, has shown he has a chance to be a good 'Y'; he's a physical kid. We drafted Tyler Davis to be an athletic guy. He can play a little fullback, he can play tight end, he can run, so we are excited to see what he can do."
O'Shaughnessy was playing the best football of his career before his torn ACL in 2019. In five games, he caught 14 passes for 153 yards and two touchdowns.
And Oliver's talent was plain to see in training camp practices, but it never translated to the game field as he missed the first seven games of the season with a hamstring and then played in just four games before finishing the season on IR with a back injury.
With Tyler Davis and Charles Jones, the Jaguars have two developmental tight ends that they feel good about should injuries befall the group yet again in 2020.
Between Eifert, Oliver, and O'Shaughnessy, there's no lack of talent in the Jaguars' tight end room. But the biggest hurdle for this group will be health. Eifert played in all 16 games in 2019 but has missed more games than he's played during his seven-year career. O'Shaughnessy is coming off a torn ACL. And Josh Oliver missed nearly his entire rookie season with various injuries. If this group can stay relatively healthy, they'll have a chance to make a serious impact for Gardner Minshew and the rest of the Jaguars' offense.
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