Austin Seferian-Jenkins has said a few times that he's happy for a lot of things in his life, including talking to Jets reporters. But one of the topics some fans might still want to hear from ASJ about — the controversial replay alchemy that turned a golden touchdown into a lost fumble during Sunday's loss to New England — was not something he wanted to revisit.
"I'm not answering any more questions about that," he said after today's practice. "We're on to Miami and that's the most important thing right now. That would not be the smartest thing to worry about. That's already been done. The best thing we can do is just prepare for tomorrow's practice and get ready for Miami."
That's just the way Seferian-Jenkins rolls these days — "I don't look at next week and I don't look at last week," he said. "I take it day to day." It's helped him turn his life around, something he's talked openly about. And speaking of alchemy, that approach has transformed him into a Jets performer that many fans thought they'd never see again: a productive pass-catching tight end.
"He'll tell you, and I'll tell you, he can do a lot more, he's just scratching the surface," head coach Todd Bowles said. "But he's working his tail off and he's getting better every week, and we're happy with him."
"I know I wasn't doing what I was capable of in the past, but right now I'm here," Seferian-Jenkins said. "I don't want to say I'm content. I've done some good things but I've definitely missed some opportunities. ... There's so many things I can improve on, which is really cool and that's what I'm excited to do at practice tomorrow, what I did today, just keep improving and working on the small things so I can help this team win."
The small thing that was almost his second short touchdown catch of the game might have helped the Jets come back against the Patriots, but don't overlook ASJ's overall day. When was the last time we saw a Green & White tight end with 11 targets and eight catches in a game?
Actually it seems longer ago than it was. The best game of Jace Amaro's short stay was his 12-target, 10-catch outing against Denver in 2014. Before that, we'd have to go back to a "golden age" of TE play when Dustin Keller had four games of at least eight catches and at least 10 targets in the four seasons from 2008-11.
Austin wasn't just joking around when he told me after making five catches in his first game of the season in vs. Miami that "five times 14 equals 70." His 23 catches are already the most he's had in any of his four NFL seasons and he's on pace for an 80-catch season, which would eclipse Mickey Shuler's 76 receptions in 1985 for most by a Jets TE.
Having a weapon like that, said QB Josh McCown, is "helpful because you can possess the middle of the field. He can win in different matchups. To have that guy going is a benefit for me and our offense and opens up the guys outside. He's a critical part in why we're able to spread the ball around the way that we are because he's able to do what he does."
Jets Returned to the Practice Field on Wednesday to Begin Prep for the Week 7 Trip to Miami
Seferian-Jenkins credits Bowles and coordinator John Morton, and especially TEs coach Jimmie Johnson, who lost weight along with him as he transformed his body this offseason, for helping to get him this far. But he stresses as does his head coach that there's more work to do. Improving his 6.6 yards/catch, for instance, or running routes or run-blocking.
What are ASJ's ultimate goals? "I just want to be the best tight end I can be, the most complete tight end, and be the best tight end the Jets have ever had," he said.
But that's long-term thinking. As he reminded reporters, he's focused more on the day-to-day and week-to-week. "And the most important thing this week," he said, "is playing Miami."