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Chilled-Out Kellen Winslow Starts Hot with Jets

Posted Sep 11, 2013

Our leading pass catcher in Sunday's season-opening victory was not a wide receiver. TE Kellen Winslow led the team with 79 yards through the air on seven receptions, including our first and only touchdown against Tampa Bay.

During Tuesday midday’s practice, Winslow showed off his cat-like reflexes and unworldly athleticism when Smith threw a ball his way with some zip, several feet to Kellen’s left and just about a foot off the ground. Winslow immediately made a break, left his feet, dived full extension, and kept the ball from hitting the Atlantic Health Training Center’s grass.

At 30 years old, the son of a Hall of Famer and the sixth-overall pick of the 2004 draft “still has great receiving skills,” head coach Rex Ryan said.

“Is he as good as he once was? Maybe not,” Ryan said, recalling the nightmares he had as the Ravens defensive coordinator in trying to come up with an effective defensive scheme during Winslow’s years with the Browns. “But he’s pretty darn good.”

For the second time in as many weeks, Kellen Winslow will go up against one of his former teams. Week 1 was the Buccaneers, for whom he had 12 receiving TDs in three seasons from 2009-11. Week 2 will be the New England Patriots, his team for one game last season before he asked to be released.

He was stuck behind tight ends Rob Gronkowski and Aaron Hernandez on the depth chart, as well as losing targets to WR Wes Welker.

“It was real good there, just wrong timing,” Winslow said of his short stay with Bill Belichick and Tom Brady. As a veteran who was rehabbing a knee injury in order to sit the bench, he felt it was better “to just chill out for a year, soak it in, and just come back next year.”

While the Pats may have been the right team at the wrong time, the Jets appear to be the right team at the right time. Winslow's 47 offensive snaps were tied for the second-most among Green & White skill position players and his three receiving first downs led the Jets during Sunday’s season opener, and he displayed strong chemistry with his rookie quarterback.

Kellen Winslow may not be the elite tight end that he used to be, but he showed Sunday that he can still be counted on to help lead the way when the game’s on the line.

“When it’s clutch time and it’s time to make a play, that’s what I live for, man. That’s what it’s all about," he said. "I don’t want to let these guys down and vice versa.

"I’m just being myself and trying to help the team. I’m just a piece to the puzzle.”

Folk Earns League Award

Nick Folk, who hit two go-ahead field goals in the final 5:05, including the 48-yarder for the win with 2 seconds to go, has been named this week's AFC Special Teams Player of the Week. Folk also had two touchbacks and two more kicks into the end zone on his four kickoffs before the game-ending squib kick.

This is Folk's second AFC POW honor as a Jet. His first came after our Week 5 Monday night win over the Vikings in 2010, when he went 5-for-5 in his FG tries, one of them a 53-yarder.

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