New York Jets Passing Game Breakdown – Where Is Jace?

Joe Caporoso breaks down the New York Jets lack of targets for rookie tight end Jace Amaro

Last week against the Kansas City Chiefs, Jeff Cumberland played 53 snaps to Jace Amaro’s 35. He received two targets, both of which were incomplete while Amaro received zero targets. Over the first half of the season Cumberland has played 472 snaps (83%) and Amaro has played 235 snaps (41%). Amaro has caught 32 of his 39 targets (83%), while Cumberland has only caught 15 of his 30 targets (50%). More recently, Amaro has caught 26 of his last 30 targets and in four of the last five games he has been targeted at least four times, he has produced over 50 yards. Since week one, Cumberland has produced 104 yards over the 7 games and has been at 18 yards or under in six of them. Outside of the passing game, Amaro has been a more consistent blocker, particularly at the second level where his superior athleticism has allowed a smoother than expected transition to blocking at this level.

Our friend Chris Lopresti shared this terrifying statistic earlier in the day via Pro Football Focus: Cumberland has run the 7th most passing routes among NFL tight ends, more than Julius Thomas, Jimmy Graham and Rob Gronkowski. This is called poor self-scouting and bad coaching. The fact that Amaro is a second round pick and the team is 1-8 is nearly enough justification in itself to be playing him more than Jeff Cumberland but you know what is better justification? Amaro is a flat out better player than Cumberland and the team’s third best receiving option right now behind Eric Decker and Percy Harvin.

Here the Jets try to go to Cumberland on a slant route by splitting him out at wide receiver. He shows zero burst off the line of scrimmage and through his initial release, he then shies away from contact and drops a pass that hits him in the hands. Mike Vick has an appropriate reaction to this play.

Later in the game, the Jets try Cumberland on a vertical route split out wide. They tried this against Buffalo and it was intercepted. It didn’t work again here. Cumberland has never “won” on a nine route as a wide receiver since entering the NFL, which makes it confusing why this is now becoming a regular play.

As for Amaro, he was mostly relegated to chip blocking and then releasing for short routes within 5 yards of the line scrimmage. Even when he was split out, his routes were all tight to the line and he frequently found himself pinned on the backside the designed play. To summarize, he was basically not part of the passing game plan against Kansas City which is inexcusable considering the team’s record and his talent level.

JACE FINAL 1 JACE FINAL 2 JACE FINAL 3

A few other observations on the Jets offense…

1. Percy Harvin ran like an animal after the catch and his highest gear is truly something to watch. The Jets have not had speed like this in recent memory. This is a solid two gears higher than anything we ever saw from Leon Washington or Brad Smith.

2. Chris Johnson ran hard, broke tackles and made plays in the passing game. He has basically given the Jets three good games (Oakland, New England, Kansas City), one big run versus Detroit and then five no shows.

3. Once more with authority: STOP RUNNING THE WILDCAT.

Author: Joe Caporoso

Joe Caporoso is the Owner and EIC of Turn On The Jets. His writing has been featured in the New York Times, Huffington Post, MMQB and AdWeek. Caporoso played football his entire life, including four years at Muhlenberg as a wide receiver, where he was arguably the slowest receiver to ever start in school history. He is the VP of Social Media at Whistle Sports

  • John Hunter

    Joe

    Responding to your Hoyer/Cleveland twitter remark, and how Hoyer will kill for our weapons…….on the contrary: Decker, Harvin, Kerley, Ivory, and Amaro will kill for Hoyer.

    We’re now a good QB, CB, & OG away from being competitive.

  • jdon

    Makes no sense. Cumberland does not possess an ounce of toughness and he plays a position that requires a god deal of it.

  • Daniel

    You know what I don’t understand, we all see this. We all see how Amaro is a better player, we all see how Johnson is being used incorrectly (he should be getting screens not running up the middle) and being used on short yardage/red zone which is strange.

    Why does Marty and the coaching staff not see this? Yes, Johnson had a good game against the Chiefs, but like you pointed out that is the 3rd game in the season where he has played well, vs 5 where he did nothing but get stuffed. And to top it off, every touch Powell gets shows a spark that Johnson does not have, aside from the 3 games you mentioned, yet he has been relegated to the bench, aside from pass protection on 3rd downs. It just makes no sense that we see this yet the years and years of coaching surrounding these players apparently does not.

  • steviej

    Amaro can’t win on a 9 route either. In practice he probably doesn’t play better than Cumberland.

  • Joe Caporoso

    Amaro’s been thrown one nine route this season, in the redzone against the Broncos, which he caught for a touchdown.