Every week Cole Patterson will break down the performance of the New York Jets tight ends. Here is his take on week four.
Grading Scale: Tight end is an interesting position to grade out, given that they are responsible for both receiving and blocking. As receivers in the West Coast Offense, tight ends will be asked to line up anywhere from slot, to split end, to flanker and be responsible for the entire route tree. As blockers in the offense, they will be assigned delayed releases, one-on-one blocks, or simply to chip a pass rusher. With these roles in mind, it is difficult to create a complex grading scale based on YPC or blocking, as the play may conclude before the tight end’s true role on the play is clear. All of that is to say, because the tight end position is so enigmatic (particularly in a WCO) a simple letter based grading scale is best employed.
- A = Entirely positive impact
- B = Consistent positive impact, few minor mistakes
- C = Equal level of positive and negative impact, average, or made no impact plays whatsoever
- D = Mostly negative impact, with room for improvement
- F = Entirely negative impact
Kellen Winslow – 6 receptions, 73 yards
Welcome back Kellen Winslow circa game one versus Tampa Bay. After two mildly disappointing weeks of statistical production, Winslow made his way back to the stat sheet. Winslow reprised his role as Smith’s security blanket and lead the team in receptions and yards. He made some big catches and converted some key first downs. On a down day for the offense, Winslow was a bright spot.
As the first quarter of the season concludes tonight on Monday Night Football, we now have some perspective with which to address the New York Jets’ individual player performances. A late offseason acquisition, nobody expected much from Kellen WInslow. The veteran tight end proved all the doubters wrong with a strong performance in week one.
Weeks two and three, Winslow was virtually a non-factor. This can be attributed to constant bracket and double coverages on the tight end and game planning, to some degree. Despite his lack of production, the double teams that Winslow commanded had a positive impact on the team. Double teaming Winslow left fewer defenders to cover the Jets’ other weapons, as evidenced by the dominant performances of the wide receivers in week three.
It is not fair to grade Winslow on a game to game basis by the extra attention he commands. The additional coverage is entirely the result of a dominant first game and not any particular influence he had in games two and three. An A or B grade is reserved for a tight end that, despite tighter coverage, is able to break away and make plays (on top of performing their other duties well). Winslow failed to do that in weeks two and three. However, Winslow finished off the first quarter of the season with a flourish and earned himself a strong quarterly grade.
NOTE: Winslow surpassed a career milestone Sunday, breaking the 5,000 career receiving yard mark. Congrats!
Week 4 Grade: A
Quarterly Grade: B
Jeff Cumberland – 1 reception, 34 yards, TD
Even though the Jets were clearly far from winning the game, the team persevered and kept pushing the ball downfield. Cumberland was the beneficiary of this tactic as he caught a short pass and displayed his deceptive speed by running it in for a touchdown. Cumberland was only targeted one other time and was unable to haul in the poorly thrown ball. When asked to block, Cumberland performed admirably.
Despite only four receptions through the first four games, Cumberland has carved himself a niche on this New York Jets offense. With WInslow taking the lion’s share of the snaps out of the Jets base offense (RB, FB, TE, 3 WR), Cumberland has been relegated to two tight end sets. However, his improved blocking and route running has made the offense hard to gauge for defenses and put Cumberland in some favorable match ups. When targeted, Cumberland has not disappointed and his blocking has improved exponentially. Cumberland has not made many mistakes but his overall impact is limited.
Week 4 Grade: A
Quarterly Grade: C
Konrad Reuland –
Once again, Reuland played exclusively on special teams. He made little impact.
On the season, Reuland has played very little offense. With limited time he has on offense, Reuland has been asked to block. He does this moderately well but no better or worse than Cumberland and some of their blocking tight end peers. Reuland has failed to make a serious impact on a floundering special teams unit. Overall, Reuland has failed to make a serious impact in his limited snap count.
Week 4 Grade: N/A
Quarterly Grade: C
Overall: Against the Titans, the Jets’ tight ends were a rare offensive bright spot. On the season, the tight ends have been major contributors. In both recieving and blocking, the Jets’ tight end play is improved leaps and bounds over 2012. Cumberland has improved dramatically and Winslow has been an upgrade over Keller (so far). Reuland has performed admirably as a blocking tight end (and at least he is not Matt Mulligan). I imagine the tight ends will continue to contribute and Winslow, in particular, will remain Smith’s security blanket.