New York Jets: Could Jace Amaro break out in 2015?
Could he? Possibly. Will he? You can count on it. Jace Amaro, the Texas Tech product was a 2nd round pick for the New York Jets in the 2014 NFL Draft. Former general manager John Idzik didn’t make many popular moves, but Amaro was one of his better selections. Standing at 6’5 inches and weighing north of 265 pounds he’s got the physical characteristics to be a star in this league.
How’d he fare in his 2014 rookie campaign? He was selected to the PFWA NFL All-Rookie team. His stats were marginal, not even scratching the surface of his potential. 38 catches for 345 yards and two touchdowns. Some of that can be attributed to the uneven quarterback play. From inconsistent Geno Smith to the unprepared Michael Vick, can you blame him?
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But fast forward an offseason, the weapons around Amaro have improved significantly. Brandon Marshall and Eric Decker manning the outside spots with Jeremy Kerley in the slot is the projected outlook of the Jets’ receiving corps.
Plus adding Zac Stacy to the 3rd leading rush attack from last season, teams won’t be able to focus on Amaro. Which opens up the seam as the middle of the field could be Amaro’s second home in 2015.
Check out what our very own NFLSpinZone.com’s Joe Soriano said about Amaro’s potential heading into next season:
“Amaro excelled when lining up in the slot, because he did a great job of moving the chains despite his six drops on just 53 targets. He caught an excellent 71.1% of everything thrown at him, though he put up just 6.5 yards per target because of his low amount of yards per reception. Per PFF, Amaro had the tenth-best catch rate among all tight ends when lined up in the slot, so that’s something for Gailey and the Jets to look forward to in 2015.” (Joe Soriano via Fansided)
The potential is certainly there and with the new look Chan Gailey spread offense, it’ll be very similar to the offense Amaro played in college. He isn’t much of the inline blocker, at least not yet anyway. The Jets should look to utilize his pass catching ability this time around. He has a proven track record, with 138 catches over his collegiate career including 106 during his junior campaign.
Nov 9, 2014; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; New York Jets tight end Jace Amaro (88) celebrates scoring a touchdown against the Pittsburgh Steelers during the first quarter at MetLife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Adam Hunger-USA TODAY Sports
For Jets fans reading this article, what can you realistically expect from the big man this season? I mean look at his ‘competition’ for snaps at the tight end position: Jeff Cumberland he’s a nice piece with potential, a better inline blocker than Amaro but has never fully reached his potential.
Other guys on the roster: Zach Sudfeld a stand-out special teamer with nice size for the position, and Chris Pantale was released by the Jets and claimed off of waivers by the Chicago Bears.
According to Rich Cimini’s report on ESPN.com: “Bowles shed light on his plans at tight end, basically saying Jeff Cumberland and Jace Amaro are both starters. Cumberland will be used in the “Y” position (the traditional tight end spot), with Amaro playing the “H” back and “F” (fullback) roles. This makes sense because it will allow Amaro to move around the formation, trying to create favorable matchups. As previously noted, Gailey wasn’t a big believer in 2-tight end packages in his previous coaching stop. From 2010-2012, the Buffalo Bills had only 341 snaps with 2 tight ends, the lowest amount in the league, according to ESPN Stats and Information. Obviously, he can tweak his philosophy based on the personnel.”
So to reiterate some of the key points Cimini went over about Todd Bowles press conference, it goes along with some of the things I mentioned earlier. Jace in the H-back role will avoid inline blocking and will allow him to be in a position to catch the football.
While Cumberland as the better blocker, they should split time thanks to what each brings to the table. But I still think realistically he can double his production from last season. Somewhere in the ball park of 55-70 catches for north of 800 yards and a few touchdowns is definitely within the realm of possibility. Which I would consider a breakout campaign for Amaro.
For the fantasy football players out there he’s worth a late round sleeper, but ultimately it’ll come down to how Smith plays (who was anointed the starter earlier this week). If everything gels well, Amaro could be a big piece of a high-octane offense come next season.
Next: New York Jets: Could Zac Stacy be hidden gem in 2015?