Dustin Keller Will Eclipse 1,000 Yards in 2012
By Alan Schechter
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
It is a contract year for Dustin Keller. We have heard that he is looking for a new deal this offseason, and the Jets have been hesitant to talk contract with him. They seem to be waiting to see how he fits into the Tony Sparano scheme, and how he performs within it, before rewarding Dustin with a new deal.
He will perform well, to the tune of over 1,000 yards receiving for the first time in his career.
Here are some factors why:
Keller has been the most consistent receiver the Jets have had. His receptions have gone up every year since Mark Sanchez arrived, from 45, to 55, and finally to 65 in 2011.
This comes from being the only receiver that Mark Sanchez has had every season since he joined the league. There is a great deal of good that comes from a receiver and quarterback being together every year, in order to build chemistry. Keller has become Sanchez’s safety blanket, and that will continue and shine in 2012.
Consistency has also been a hallmark of the tight end under Tony Sparano’s offense. During his time with Miami, tight end Anthony Fasano has been a consistent performer, with 18 TDs over the four seasons. His peak season as far as receiving yards was 528, but with Keller and his explosiveness, 1,000 yards is very realistic.
IMPROVED RUNNING GAME
The running game is going to get better in 2012. Sparano and his staff are preaching a physical brand of football, in order to bring back the Ground and Pound philosophy to the New York Jets.
We have talked in the past about the improvement that Shonn Greene’s game will have in 2012, but that is not the only positive that will come.
With the improved running game, the defense will have to come up close to guard against the improved running game, which will open the seams down the field. Who will run down those seams? Sanchez’s favorite target, Dustin Keller.
A major part of Tony Sparano’s offense is the vertical threat, which the Jets really didn’t have last year. Even without one, Keller set a career high in receiving yards with 815.
As discussed many times before, Stephen Hill can fly. He’s tall and can run like a deer. Anyone who averaged more than 20 yards per catch in college, even with a limited number of receptions, is a legit deep threat. His mere precence will open up the underneath stuff for Keller, paving the way to set new career highs.
A lot of guys, Nick Mangold and David Harris are examples, received new contracts prior to the end of their rookie deals. Dustin Keller was not so lucky.
If you read the previous posts where we have discussed this, you know that Keller isn’t happy about it. He knows that other guys have received deals while he has not. He knows he has been there for Mark for his whole career, but yet hasn’t been rewarded.
He wants to get his first big payday. He is going to play in 2012 with a chip on his shoulder, to show that he is worthy, from either the Jets are another team, of a big check.
Will Keller get a big deal from the Jets? That still remains to be seen. But he will have a season worthy of earning it, by catching passes for over 1,000 yards for the first time in his career.