TOJ Jets Roster Preview: The Hybrids

Joe Caporoso previews the New York Jets tight ends for 2014

We finished previewing the New York Jets defense right here. Today, we move on to the offense, starting with the tight ends: Jeff Cumberland, Jace Amaro, and Zach Sudfeld. 

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Jeff Cumberland – 675 offensive snaps (64 percent) – 26 receptions, 398 yards, 4 touchdowns 

Cumberland had a relatively disappointing 2013 season. He flashed with a monster Monday night game against the Atlanta Falcons but didn’t do all that much with plenty of offensive opportunities the rest of the season. His touchdown statistics are misleading, as three of them came deep in garbage time (vs TEN, BUF and CAR). Over the course of a two week stretch against Atlanta and Pittsburgh, Cumberland had 7 receptions for 138 yards, over his other 13 games he had: 19 receptions for 260 yards (22 yards per game). Marty Mornhinweg regularly tried to feature Cumberland as the Jets wide receive situation was in flux but he struggled to get himself open and failed to come down with a handful of contested passes.

Regardless, the coaching staff remains high on his potential and he is going to be a large part of the team’s offensive plans in 2014. Cumberland is at his best when split out but he’ll be used both there and as the in-line player in two tight end looks with Jace Amaro. After Eric Decker, Amaro, Jeremy Kerley and Chris Johnson, Cumberland is likely to see the highest amount of targets and in many situations will function as the team’s “number two receiver.”

As a 15-25 snap per game player, Cumberland is a good option for any offense. You are pushing it when you ask him to regularly give you 40-50 snaps every week. He still struggles as a blocker and his routes aren’t fluid. However, his combination of size and speed make him a threat down the seam and in the redzone.

Jace Amaro – Rookie 

A second round steal for the Jets in this year’s draft, Amaro is going to be a movable chess piece in the passing offense and could very well end up second in targets on the team after Decker. An oversized slot receiver, Amaro will be moved around the formation to create mismatches there, used at split end, H-Back and gradually see more time as a traditional tight end. It will be interesting to watch how Cumberland and him are used in conjunction with each other in different formations, along with how quickly Amaro can improve his blocking. He should be immediately become a favorite of Geno Smith and a safety blanket in the short passing game.

Zach Sudfeld – 144 offensive snaps (14 percent) – 5 receptions, 63 yards 

An intriguing talent who should be able to carve out a role for himself in a Jets offense that will be heavy on tight end use. Similar to the players in front of him on the depth chart, Sudfeld is athletic enough to be moved around the formation. He should get an opportunity to push for playing time as an in-line tight end and be used with some regularity at H-Back. Sudfeld is likely to be involved in redzone packages as well, which will utilize his size.

SCALDING HOT 2014 TIGHT END TAKE – Amaro finishes second on the team in receiving yards and receiving touchdowns behind Decker. Cumberland has somewhere between 25-35 receptions and averages 30-35 snaps per game. Sudfeld carves out a weekly role for himself as a situational player.

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 EVP of Content at Whistle Sports