In the weeks leading up to the Jets 2014 Training Camp, we will take a position-by-position look at some of the key storylines to follow this summer.
Despite missing four games last season due to a suspension, Kellen Winslow paced the Jets tight ends with 31 receptions. And while Winslow remains a street free agent, the Jets think they have a versatile group of TEs that can make some noise in 2014.
A look at the 2014 Offseason: Jets Tight Ends
1. The Trees May See Red: Without even stepping on the field, the first thing you notice about TE coach Steve Hagen's crew is its length.
"All my guys are tall," Hagen said during minicamp. "Jeff (Cumberland) is 6'5", Jace (Amaro) is 6'6", Zach (Sudfeld) is 6'7" and Chris (Pantale) is 6'5". They're all big guys who can run and play."
Height can be a huge asset down in the red zone when the field shrinks. Last season, the Jets finished just 27th in red zone efficiency while scoring TDs on 50% of their trips inside the opponents' 20-yard line.
2. Cumby's Speed: As pointed out by Randy Lange when Jeff Cumberland re-signed, Cumby's 15.3-yard average was the third-highest for TEs in the NFL last season. Cumberland, who will benefit from continuity under Mornhinweg, worked on his lateral quicks and stops and starts in the offseason.
"He's fast. He can run. I don't think the league knew how well he could run probably until we played Atlanta last year and he was ripping up the seams," Hagen said. "Their D-coordinator (Mike Nolan) came to me and went, 'Whoa, who is that guy?' So he can run."
3. Class Begins For Amaro: The Jets got great value in the second round when Texas Tech product Jace Amaro fell to them with the 49th overall selection. Amaro, who set the NCAA FBS single-season record for receiving yardage by a tight end with 1,352, is adapting to a new offense and learning a new language.
"You have to teach him how to line up first and the verbiage and the terminology in our offense," Hagen said. "Then obviously he has to learn how to block better because they didn't ask him to block very much there."
"He'll block in space and that's one of the hardest things to do is to get a big guy to be able to handle that," added head coach Rex Ryan. "So that would lead me to think he can be a decent in-line blocker as well."
4. Mornhinweg Has Options: This is a versatile group and offensive coordinator Marty Mornhinweg loves to mix-up his personnel and use multiple shifts and formations.
"Cumberland was a former wideout and Zach can play outside (and) so can Jace. You can do a lot of different things," Ryan said. "You can present three tight ends out there and all of sudden you break out, you flex all of them out. There are a lot of different things that we can do with our guys and our system is flexible enough to take advantage of all our guys."
5. Sasquatch: Zach Sudfeld is set to leave the New Jersey forests and inhabit SUNY Cortland for the first time. The Jets claimed Sudfeld off waivers last October and the former Patriot had four catches in limited action. But he stood out at times this spring and will look to build off that in Central, NY.
"It's hard for a 6'7" guy to fly under the radar," Hagen said. "But Zach can run, he has really good hands and he is super smart. He is another weapon, a huge red zone weapon because he's tall."