“I feel like I play a lot better with the pads on, from a route-running standpoint,” the second-round pick said after today’s practice. “I like to do things to my defenders. I like to do different things with the pads on. Right now I really don’t want to do that from a player-injury perspective.”
When the pads do come on, however, Amaro said that he doesn’t expect anything different in terms of how practice is run.
“I don’t think it’s much different from what we’ve been doing,” he said. “We’ve been blocking the defensive line and stuff like that. Right now we have the shells on, but I guess we’ll see. I’ve never really been part of an NFL full-padded practice. I think it’ll be different, but at the same time it’s just football and I’ve been doing it for a long time.”
Amaro was known in college for his contributions to Texas Tech’s air attack, becoming the NCAA Division I record holder for most receiving yards by a tight end in a season during his junior year.
That wasn’t enough for Amaro. After coming to the Jets, he spent much of the offseason from OTAs through minicamp and now through the first few days of training camp focused on improving his run-blocking.
“I can do different things in the pass game and in the run game. I’m getting a lot better run-blocking,” Amaro said. “I think with that, it’s really going to open me up. I know a lot of people said I wasn’t able to do that early on in the draft process. Coach [Steve] Hagen has done a good job with that. So that’s probably the biggest thing is just understanding the run game right now.”
Amaro will definitely gain some vital experience in run blocking early in his career, saying he'll be able to learn from going up against what many consider to be one of the NFL's top-tier defensive fronts.
“They’re really good,” Amaro said of the Jets defense. “You definitely have to take the right steps or you’ll be hurting, but you just have to be paying attention.”
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Going up against the defense in full pads is also something Amaro is not worried about. In fact, he said he’s looking forward to it as it will give him an opportunity to show his teammates and coaches his progress.
“I think a lot of people will be surprised with how well I can block,” he said.
Amaro said he’s well aware that the team will want him to contribute to the passing game in addition to blocking for the ballcarriers, as he did at today's practice when he made a catch in front of veteran safety
“That’s the expectation for me and that’s the expectations of myself, too,” he said. “I know I can catch every single ball thrown to me. It’s just a matter of me focusing and me doing it and just not worrying about the little things. Once I really get rolling over these next couple of days, I’ll start feel a lot better about it.”