TOJ – New York Jets Tight End Grade Sheet (Week 5): The Case for Jace

Cole Patterson zeros in on the New York Jets best option at tight end, Jace Amaro.

Normally, in this post, I go over the individual performances of the New York Jets tight ends: Jeff Cumberland, Jace Amaro, and Zach Sudfeld. If you’ve been keeping track or following my grade sheets you’ll know that, to this point in the season, the tight ends have been making little to no impact on paper. In fact, outside of dropping a few balls and whiffing a few key blocks, you may not even know they were on the field. Save one that is, enter: Jace Amaro.

You may not see his name prominently featured in the game logs, nor will you be astounded at his season totals, but I’m certain you remember his play on the field. The New York Jets rookie tight end has been stepping up in big moments and stating his case to enter the starting line up.

The Jets have kept Amaro on an obvious snap count: 21 against Oakland, 22 against Green Bay, 23 against Chicago, 22 against Detroit, and 27 against San Diego. Let’s compare that to Jeff Cumberland: 55 against Oakland, 67 against Green Bay, 65 against Chicago, 50 against Detroit, and 52 against San Diego. Jeff Cumberland has played an outrageous 86% of the snaps this season (skewed somewhat by the 91% outlier against the Chargers). Jace Amaro, on the other hand, has played 34% of the snaps through 5 games.

These statistics would lead one to believe that Jeff Cumberland has earned his role through effective play and that Jace Amaro is still finding his role in the offense. Quite the opposite. Jeff Cumberland – and Zach Sudfeld, in his limited time on the field – have been invisible. In fact, after posting 50 yards against Oakland, Cumberland has not combined for as many yards in the four games since. Possibly even more damning, Cumberland and Sudfeld’s combined receptions (11) and yardage (109) are lower than Amaro’s (14 – 144) in over twice as many snaps.

Statistics aren’t everything. Amaro has converted numerous chain moving receptions on third and fourth down. He has also made clutch deep grabs to put the Jets in scoring position, twice.

Pass catching ability is not everything either (as I have tried to establish in my weekly grade sheets). Through five weeks Amaro has proven that concerns regarding his pass and run blocking ability coming out of Texas Tech were over blown. He has quickly surpassed Cumberland and Sudfeld in this department. While all three have actually shown competency in that area this season, Amaro (on the whole) has been more consistent in driving off the snap and taking his man out of the play. There have been some whiffs and hiccups but no more than Cumberland or Sudfeld (who have years of experience on the 22 year old).

This is all to say that having Amaro ride the pine while the ineffective Cumberland sees a ridiculous number of snaps is hurting the offense. I’m not suggesting benching Cumberland in favor of Amaro, however. Through five weeks the tight ends in general have been criminally underused with a bulk of the focus going toward an ineffective wide receiver group. Using more two tight end sets could mitigate many of the Jets woes on offense: provide more protection for the quarterback, better disguise plays, and provide more effective receiving targets. This applies especially in the red zone.

Either way, Amaro seeing the field more can only improve a floundering offense.

Here is your obligatory GIF menagerie of Jace Amaro being good: