Five Jets Training Camp Stories without Tebow


June 14, 2012; Florham Park, NJ, USA; New York Jets tight end Dustin Keller (81) during minicamp at the Atlantic Health Training Center. Mandatory Credit: Ed Mulholland-US PRESSWIRE

We continue our week long series about training camp. Specifically, five training camp stories that we will be following, that don’t involve a certain left handed quarterback.

Here are the links to the previous stories so far:

The Battle at Kicker

Who Will Emerge as Number 2 Receiver

Who will Emerge as Number 2 Running Back

And now, for our fourth story:


We all know that Dustin Keller is Mark’s favorite target. He’s also the only one that has been with Mark for his entire career, but this is for another discussion. There has been a lot of talk lately as to whether or not Dustin fits in with the Tony Sparano offensive style.

That remains to be seen. What we do know, is that Keller’s reputation is as a pass receiver, and not so much as a blocker. So, the question is, do the Jets have a blocking tight end on the roster?

Turn the page to talk about the candidates.

Jeff Cumberland enters as the number 2 tight end. Yet, he too, has been a better receiver than a blocker. Again, a nice weapon for Mark Sanchez, but can he block?

Behind him are a bunch of unknowns. The one that isn’t a rookie is Dedrick Epps. However, he has been a guy that has made the travels on the practice squads, so we just don’t know.

Then, you have a pair or rookies. Tarren Lloyd is the first. He has some potential, as he was more of a blocker at Utah State. But the fact of the matter is, he’s a rookie. Until we see him do it in a pro system, we just don’t know.

And then the ultimate project, Hayden Smith. The former rugby player is working as hard as anybody to learn the sport, coach Ryan has told us as much. As a guy that played rugby, he is certainly no stranger to playing physically, that’s for sure. But, we just don’t know. He has never played a snap of football in a game, so we just don’t know.

Is there a guy outside the organization that is going to come in. There is talk down in Miami about Anthony Fasano, and how is role is reducing with the Dolphins. Some are saying it is possible that he could be cut.

Fasano is certainly familiar with the Sparano offensive system, and he is an adept run blocker. You could make the argument for bringing him in, either via trade or signing if he gets released.

There was some debate among Jets bloggers last week about whether the Jets would be better with Fasano INSTEAD of Dustin Keller. To me, Dustin Keller has a great deal more upside than Fasano has. Yes, Fasano is a consistent performer, but Keller’s upside is huge, and his comfort with Mark Sanchez cannot be overlooked. Keller must stay, unless he totally falls apart in the new system.

If he can be brought in as a complement to Keller, that would be ideal. He is a terrific run blocker and it would be invaluable to bring in a guy that is already familiar with the Sparano system.

The point is, whether inside this organization or not, they need a blocking tight end. Who will emerge?

It will be interesting to follow.