TOJ – New York Jets Tight End Grade Sheet (Week 9) – Zach Sudfeld Edition

Every week Cole Patterson will break down the performance of the New York Jets tight ends. Here is his take on week seven. 

The Jets were without starting tight ends Kellen Winslow Jr. and Jeff Cumberland against the Saints. While their absence was felt, a young hero stepped up off the bench. A film study on Zach Sudfeld’s rise to the starting line up after the jump…

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 –

Winslow served the last game of his suspension and is eligible to return after the Bye. His presence will give an immediate boost to the passing game.

Grade: N/A 

Jeff Cumberland – 

Cumberland was obviously missed in the passing game. His absence all but killed two tight end sets as the team continues to show little faith in Reuland. His role as the TE-2 may be in jeopardy after the Bye due to a stellar performance from…

Grade: N/A 

Zach Sudfeld – 2 rec, 46 Yds

“Going forward I would be interested to see how Sudfeld fares with extended run blocking reps given his natural ability and what I saw on Sunday.”  – Cole Patterson, Week 8 @Cincinnati

Ask and you shall receive. With Cumberland sidelined due to a concussion, Sudfeld stepped into the spotlight and played a whopping 49 snaps (80%). Though his stat line did not reflect it, Sudfeld played exceptionally well both as a pass catcher and a run blocker.

Geno Smith to Sudfeld on Jets goaline – Incomplete

On the first play of the Second Quarter, Sudfeld lined up in slot right. He ran a tight comeback route with solid coverage by Kenny Vaccaro. Sudfeld used his size to get the better of the rookie safety and attack the ball. Being a freakish athlete and a future star defensive back, Vaccaro is able to recover and break up the pass.

Direct snap to Cribbs. Deep pass to Sudfeld for 25

Here, Marty Mornhinweg came up with a very creative play design.

Cribbs to Sud

Sudfeld lines up as a blocker on the left, with Cribbs as the QB in the wishbone.

Cribbs to Sud 2

Cribbs takes the direct snap and eight Jets head left on an apparent screen to Powell.

Cribbs to Sud 3

However, Cribbs rolls right with Tommy Bohannon as his check down. Sudfeld, meanwhile, sneaks off the moving line and deep into the secondary. With all eyes on either Powell or Cribbs, Sudfeld is wide open for a 25 yard gain.

Smith to Sudfeld short right on Saints goal-line – Incomplete

Geno Overthrow

On second and goal, after some solid running, the Jets run a well designed play action.

Geno Overthrow 2

Geno, after faking the handoff to Ivory, runs a bootleg to the right. Sudfeld, lined up as an inline blocker, occupies OLB Parys Haralson (who he manhandled on the Smith TD run). Sudfeld breaks his block to run with the mobile Smith.

Geno Overthrow  3

Sudfeld uses his lengthy arms and power to explode off his block and get solid separation.

Geno Overthrow  4

However, the pass is overthrown and Sudfeld trips while laying out for it.

Smith to Sudfeld short right for 21 yards 

Sud Catch and Run

Sudfeld lines up as an inline blocker on the right.

Sud Catch and Run 1

Vilma comes in on the blitz and allows Sudfeld a free release into the flat.

Sud Catch and Run 2

Sudfeld catches it and turns upfield with a surprisingly quick flip of the hips for a man his size.

Sud Catch and Run 3

Sudfeld is able to burn by two Saints defenders for a 25 yard catch and run up the sideline. His clock awareness and ability to get out of bounds at the three yard line led directly to the Geno Smith TD run, putting the Jets up 20-14 going into the half.

 Sudfeld’s Run Blocking

Ivory for 52

Ivory 52

Sudfeld lines up, where he would line up for most of the game, as an inline blocker to the right of Austin Howard.

Ivory 52 2

Howard Makes first contact with Akiem Hicks. Hicks sheds the block only to meet Sudfeld who finishes him off and actually pancakes him (Hicks is 324 lbs). Sudfeld’s block not only sealed the hole (along with Tommy Bohanon) but allowed Brian Winters to come through and take Lofton out of Ivory’s running lane.

Ivory for 11

Want to see Sudfeld take on a pro bowl defensive end?

Sudfeld on Cam Jordan

Sudfeld’s assignment here is to seal the edge against DE Cameron Jordan (the Muhammad Wilkerson of the Saints).

Sudfeld on Cam Jordan 3

Despite Jordan’s unnatural quickness off the snap, Sudfeld stands him up as a one on one assignment.

Sudfeld on Cam Jordan 2

As Ivory breaks for the sideline, Sudfeld actually pushes Jordan into the backfield and out of the play.

Sudfeld made an impact as a pass catcher but it was his run blocking that made me stop and rewind the tape. At 6’7″ – 260 lbs,  Sudfeld is a terror for a blitzing linebacker or defensive back. He also manhandled his fair share of defensive linemen in the game and showed up against some serious talent. His measurables also give him an advantage in breaking press coverage and in the red zone. One interesting note is that Sudfeld looks like he hasn’t entirely filled out and could add more bulk to his massive frame. Sudfeld’s performance against the Saints could land him some snaps over Jeff Cumberland. The ability to both block and catch is invaluable for a tight end and Sudfeld may have just carved himself a longterm niche on the Jets.

Grade: A

Konrad Reuland –

Reuland only played 10 snaps (16%) and saw no targets. His value is his versatility and Sudfeld displayed that trait with more aptitude than Reuland has all season. Reuland’s play on special teams will keep him around but he may have seen his last significant offensive snaps.

Grade: N/A 

Author: Cole Patterson

Cole has attended American University in Washington DC and is currently completing a double major in history and global communications at Ramapo College in Northern NJ. He has served as an NFL Analyst for a local DC radio show, Fanatic Radio. He lives and dies with the New York Jets. Cole will help lead Jets coverage and analysis.