Jay Gruden confident in Tyler Eifert boosting Jaguars at tight end

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New Jacksonville Jaguars tight end Tyler Eifert cited Jay Gruden’s presence as the team’s new offensive coordinator as a big reason why he decided to sign with the team this offseason.

Gruden also is eager to be paired with Eifert again in Jacksonville as the tight end position is a critical piece of Gruden’s offensive attack.

Gruden and Eifert were together for just one season in Cincinnati before Gruden became the head coach of the Washington Redskins in 2014. Gruden would then have two capable tight ends in Washington, when healthy, in Jordan Reed and Vernon Davis. Gruden said the difference for their offense was obvious when those guys were unable to play, particularly in the red zone.

It’s difficult down there,” Gruden said, via the team’s website. “You can double receivers all you want to. 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. They’re a quarterback’s best friend. he passes don’t have to be 25 yards down the field. They can be option routes, choice routes, in-breaking routes … you know, quicker-type element passes – if you have that tight end.”

Eifert will be that guy for Gruden again now in Jacksonville along with James O'Shaughnessy and other younger options. As Gruden tries to tailor an offense for quarterback Gardner Minshew, having a reliable option at tight end could go a long way toward boosting the Jaguars offensive output.

“Having a tight end is critical. And I know that when you don’t have one, times are tough. … It’s a key position, and I think Tyler’s going to be a great add for us in getting these guys all on the field and see what they can do. It’s going to be exciting,” Gruden said.