At the start of the offseason, the New York Jets' tight-end depth chart consisted of two not-so-household names -- Zach Sudfeld and Chris Pantale. With two significant moves, they fortified the position, re-signing Jeff Cumberland (three years, $5.7 million) and drafting Jace Amaro in the second round.
"We’re deep and talented at the tight end spot," offensive coordinator Marty Mornhinweg said last week. "That’s going to be an impressive position for the New York Jets for years to come."
That's assuming Amaro develops into a stud. He has a long way to go.
As we noted on the night of the draft, this won't be an easy transition for Amaro, who came from a system at Texas Tech that's dramatically different than the one he's trying to master with the Jets. Amaro described the Tech offense as "simple," -- a no-huddle, spread attack that doesn't have a high volume of plays. Using a math analogy, it was on the level of addition, subtraction, division and multiplication. The Jets are using calculus.
Which explains why Amaro struggled in last week's minicamp. He got some work with the first team, mostly in the three-receiver package, but he looked lost at times. Simply put, he needs to clean up all aspects of his game.
Mornhinweg said Amaro, a pass-catching machine in college, needs to make a "host" of adjustments to get comfortable in a pro-style system. The Jets' version of the West Coast offense is predicated on timing and precision, and Amaro's routes were sloppy. If a pass receiver is off by a step or two, it throws the entire play out of sync. Specifically, he has to polish the top of his routes. Because he didn't play much traditional tight end at Tech, he also needs a refresher course on the in-line position, mostly with footwork and releases.
This has to be a humbling process for Amaro, who boasted on the first day of rookie camp that his goal is to become the next Tony Gonzalez. A tap on the brakes is in order.