Jets must finally focus on upgrading tight end situation
By Soyica Lyles
The New York Jets are expected to realign themselves with winning combinations and smart draft picks. But it’s time they finally focus on upgrading their tight end situation.
In addition to a quarterback, the New York Jets also need tight ends, linebackers, and cornerbacks. Whomever Gang Green decides to make their quarterback for next season will need every receiving option on the field in order to build his own confidence. Plus of course, regain the confidence of fans as well as put points on the scoreboard.
And certainly, one playbook flaw that has become incessantly annoying to watch is the use of the tight end position mostly as a line blocker and sparingly as a receiver. Understandably, the tight end is a variable in the zone blocking scheme, but when watching the more exciting quarterback/tight end combinations in Dallas, Atlanta, San Diego, Green Bay, Seattle, New Orleans and New England consistently make their way into the end-zone, Jets fans are left with deflated hearts.
What if the Jets began to again use the tight end as a receiving option? This would simultaneously improve both the passing and running game. The goal here is to increase the number of targets and to utilize all offensive weapons. Thinking even deeper, what if the Jets had a Jason Witten, or a Tony Gonzalez, Heath Miller or even an Antonio Gates?
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What if in building through the draft, general manager Mike Maccagnan is signaling that they will choose six feet six and 251-pound tight end O.J Howard from Alabama with their No. 6 pick in the 2017 draft? And perhaps this choice would fit perfectly in line with making decisions that give the Jets a better chance moving forward? Besides, a player coming from Nick Saban’s program would definitely be poised to take on said role –fearlessly.
The New York Times’ Ben Shpigel discussed with tight end Kellen Davis about his knowledge of then new offensive coordinator Chan Gailey’s reputation of underutilizing the position. Shpigel also noted that Gailey rarely used his tight ends during his time as head coach of Buffalo Bills, 2010-2012.
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Present day, one would like to comfortably assume that Jets offensive coordinator John Morton has no intention of stifling any of his offensive cast this year. Remember, John Morton was an offensive assistant and coordinated the passing team for Sean Payton’s New Orleans Saints as well as the wide-receivers coach in San Francisco. Both teams made it to the NFC Championship game under his tutelage.