Do the Jets Need Another Tight End?
By Alan Schechter
June 14, 2012; Florham Park, NJ, USA; New York Jets tight end Dustin Keller (81) runs with the ball during minicamp at the Atlantic Health Training Center. Mandatory Credit: Ed Mulholland-US PRESSWIRE
Dustin Keller is the starting tight end for the New York Jets. He’s also been there the longest, as he has been with the Jets for five years.
But do the Jets have enough at the position? Tony Sparano is here, and he is bringing back the run-oriented, “Ground and Pound” Jets offense. Dustin Keller is an improving, but not known as a great blocker.
Now look behind him.
Has anyone been blown away by Jeff Cumberland? I would say no. Behind him, we have a whole bunch of unproven players. Dedrick Epps, Brian Linthicum, Hayden Smith, Tarren Lloyd, and Josh Baker may be good, but the fact is, we don’t know at this point. We just don’t know, and the Jets are not rebuilding. They are looking to make a run at the Super Bowl, and the question is, can they rely on unproven backups at the tight end position?
No they cannot, and there are some alternatives out there.
The first is not a free agent, but he may be available for a reasonable trade.
Dec 18, 2011; Orchard Park, NY, USA; Miami Dolphins tight end Anthony Fasano (80) celebrates a touchdown against Buffalo Bills during the first half at the Ralph Wilson Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Richard Mackson-US PRESSWIRE
Yes, Anthony Fasano. Take a look at this article by clicking here, about the reducing role of Fasano in Miami’s offense. This new up-tempo offense under Joe Philbin might just make Fasano the odd man out.
If that is the case, Mike Tannenbaum should make a phone call to Jeff Ireland in Miami.
First of all, Anthony Fasano is well versed in the Tony Sparano offense. Bringing in someone that is familiar with the new coach can’t be a bad idea. Second of all, he has an excellent reputation as a run blocker, which is a positive in the ground and pound. As we said before, the Jets don’t have a really proven run blocker at tight end, and Fasano could be the guy.
Finally, he is a weapon as a pass catcher as well. He isn’t Dustin Keller, but he can’t be discounted either, as he has recorded over 30 receptions per season over the last four.
The Jets should make inquiries.
Turn the page for one more guy that the Jets should think about.
Sept 25, 2011; Nashville, TN, USA; Tennessee Titans tight end Daniel Graham (86) throws the ball into the stands after scoring the winning touchdown against the Denver Broncos during the second half at LP Field. Tennessee defeated Denver 17-14. Mandatory Credit: Jim Brown-US PRESSWIRE
Daniel Graham is an unrestricted free agent, and another guy that Mke Tannenbaum should make a phone call about.
For one, he has played for the Patriots. I know this game of signing each other’s players has gone back and forth for many years now, but, if you can’t beat em, join em. Bringing in a talented player that once played for New England can always serve to get under Belichick’s skin, which is nothing but a good thing.
Graham is also, again not to the level of Dustin Keller, but a threat that cannot be ignored in the passing game. Until last season, Daniel Graham averaged nearly 25 receptions per season, and scored 24 TDs over that period. He may not be Dustin Keller, but again, they cannot ignore him when he is on the field.
He is also an able bodied veteran that can block against the run. He is an influence that would help the Jets, and he can push the other guys as well.
Just two guys that the Jets should explore. You can never have enough guys to block in the running attack when executing the ground and pound. Daniel Graham and Anthony Fasano are two guys that would fit the bill, on an unproven depth chart. Mike Tannenbaum should start making some calls.