Dustin Keller knows right now in training camp that the Jets offense, while in need of game experience, can be a force to be reckoned with this season.
"We have a very good passing attack and a very good offense," Keller said. "You can't call it great yet because we haven't played a game yet. But I think in time, as the season goes on, I think we will be a great offense."
As the second week of training camp starts up at SUNY Cortland, the Green & White offense looks to be running on all cylinders, and the third-year tight end out of Purdue is a big part of the reason. Keller was remarkable in today's morning practice, making four big receptions from Mark Sanchez in the two-minute 11-on-11 drill, including one catch to convert a fourth down.
With the acquisitions of WR Santonio Holmes and RB LaDainian Tomlinson that bolstered the offense in the offseason, it's easy for Keller to not be as publicized about his play. But he recognizes that the great part of this team is its balanced attack and knowing your number can be called at any time.
"Maybe I've been under the radar to the media, but in our locker room we know what we have," he said. "We know the options that are available. In our meeting yesterday, Sanchez stood up and told all of us that at the scrimmage two days ago Santonio was getting a lot of passes. But the next day it could be Jerricho [Cotchery], the next day it could me or LC [Laveranues Coles]. We have so many options."
The tight end has seen the huge improvements that Sanchez has made from his rookie year to now.
"He's light-years ahead," Keller said. "Last year, obviously, the ability was there. But it's just like being a receiver in a new system. If you don't know the routes, then you can't run full speed. Now he's got it all down and he's going 100 miles an hour."
The 2008 first round draft pick has proven to be a formidable passing target over the past two seasons with 93 career receptions, not including 12 catches, three for touchdowns, in the three playoff games.
One of the key things, however, that he felt he had to work on for this season is his blocking.
"I did a really good job today," Keller said." I think when you get into the regular downs and the team situations, you don't know whether we're going to pass or run, so they have to play me a little more honest. I think that's a complete advantage for me. I've done a greater job [blocking] this year, and I'm using it to my advantage."
Keller's improvements from last season have definitely not gone unnoticed on his head coach.
"Well, you think about how he finished the season," Rex Ryan said at his news conference. "Three games in a row, he scored a touchdown. That's what we can get from this guy. He has special receiving skills and he's improving as a blocker."