Can Jace Amaro Bring Hope to the Jets Nonexistent Tight End Position?
As he prepares for his third season with the New York Jets, tight end Jace Amaro hopes to bring an impact and hopes to revitalize the forgotten tight end position in the Jets offense. Last year the Jets didn't use their tight ends at all and former tight end Jeff Cumberland was only targeted 13 times and caught only 5 balls for a total of 77 yards. Of course, Amaro suffered through a shoulder injury and missed the entire 2015 season. You may also recall that little war of words between him and former Jets head coach Rex Ryan.
That was the only highlight of Amaro's 2015 season. In a radio interview after Ryan was fired by the New York Jets, He said the team lacked accountability in 2014. The tight end must have lit some fire in Ryan because he fired back, and knowing Rex Ryan you expect him to keep running his mouth, which he did. Safe to say, Rex got the last laugh as his new team the Buffalo Bills beat the Jets twice and kept them out of the playoffs in 2015.
Amaro doesn't want to be remembered as the guy who started a war with his former head coach, He wants to be known for catching passes and touchdowns. "This is a big year for me, especially the way we played as a collective group," Amaro said after Wednesday's practice. "The tight ends only caught 10 balls, so it's a big year for all of us. All I know is that we plan on getting more involved this season. I plan on getting involved a lot this season."
That's quite a statement, considering the Jets' recent history at tight end. Since 2011, their tight ends have produced a league low 282 receptions, according to ESPN Stats & Information. The New England Patriots have generated a total of 545 catches from this position, which leads the NFL. This drought has spanned four offensive coordinators, from Brian Schottenheimer to Tony Sparano to Marty Mornhinweg to Chan Gailey. We are talking about four entirely different systems, so you can't blame the lack of numbers on coaching. It's the talent; they haven't had a true pass-catching tight end since Dustin Keller. Amaro hopes to change that.
At Texas Tech, he was a record-breaking receiver and a second round pick in 2014. He caught 38 passes as a rookie, but fans remember his six drops more than any of his receptions. Then, he missed the entire 2015 season due to labrum surgery in the preseason. Before the injury, he was listed as the No. 3 tight end on the depth chart, raising eyebrows from fans. If Amaro wants to make a huge impact, he has to show coaches that he is going to be doing more than running his mouth. During this week of OTA's he has done exactly just that. He has looked sharp and definitely turning heads.
The position is wide open, Cumberland is gone, and the only returning tight ends are Amaro, Davis, and Sudfeld, who is also returning from an injury. It's surprising that the front office didn't do anything to improve the position, but it could mean that the organization is trusting Amaro to blossom and becoming the player the old staff, including Ryan, thought he could be.