June 28, 2017

Challenge #2: Cover the Tight Ends

In a continuing series heading into Saturday’s game, here’s another look at an obstacle the Bengals will have to overcome if they hope to win.

This problem isn’t exactly a new one. For years, it seems, the Bengals have been struggling to cover and contain opposing tight ends, often getting beaten on crossing routes, seam routes, and seemingly everything in between. So for many of us, it wasn’t a surprise when Houston Texans tight end Owen Daniels had a monster game against the Bengals on December 11, catching seven passes for 100 yards, including a nice grab on T.J. Yates’ agonizing game-winning drive. For good measure, backup Joel Dreesen had three catches for another 22 yards and a touchdown. And if you had the stomach to watch that game tape again, you’d realize that the tight ends played an important role in the Texans’ victory.

Now, here we go again. Once again, a rookie quarterback is starting for Houston, and will likely be looking to his tight ends early and often. So the Bengals will have to cover the tigght ends better than they did in the first contest – and that could be difficult considering Andre Johnson is playing in this game after missing the first one, and will likely get double coverage on occassion.

If the Bengals hope to pull off an upset, they’ll have to neutralize the tight ends. Something they didn’t do last time.



  1. I am thinking a bit of a shift with the LB play is the best way to combat this. Rey needs to stay home a little more and not attack the LoS so much, while I love he tenacity against the run a stay at home MLB will take the crossing routes, drags away and make the middle of the field quite a bit more daunting to a rookie QB. I do recognize the pass rush issues this creates but mixing the Safety and LB rush a bit more than we currently do oils create problems. Again I may not be completely in line and welcome any other thoughts.

  2. I know Mike Zimmer and Marvin like to play man coverage, but I think this is actually a good game for zone. I’d put a corner on Andre Johnson’s side and roll a safety over that way as well. Then I’d make sure Owen Daniels got jammed on the line of scrimmage every play before having backers and safeties to deal with. I’d also use a few zone blitzes as well. I can’t imagine TJ Yates has seen too many of those in his limited action.