Brian Bassett, TheJetsBlog.comJets rookie tight end Jace Amaro isn’t the only player at his position that has expressed feeling inundated in moving from a college to NFL level offense. The draft’s top tight end Eric Ebron, now of the Detroit Lions, told the Ross Tucker Podcast this week that adjusting to the NFL is no small feat.
“I’ve been everywhere and that is what’s killing me,” the Ebron said on the podcast. “I’m used to either learning the Y or learning the A, which we had at North Carolina. But now it’s the Y, the F, the Z.”
To explain, the “Y” denotes the slot and the “Z” denotes the flanker while the “F” is a newer designation. There is never an “F” without an X and Y on the field and another tight end as well … often referred to in shorthand as the “12″ personnel pacakge. More traditionally the “F” might be called an “H-Back” but is often a the faster and better pass-catching tight end who will become a “move” receiver. See this succinct ESPN.com article for about the “F” receiver position.
“It’s kind of confusing,” Damian Williams told Paul Kuharsky of ESPN.com. “You’ve really got to know your stuff. It’s more concepts. Constant confusion with moving parts a lot of the times.”
The “F” is contingent on what receivers and tight ends are on or off the field and as a result will then take advantage of opposing personnel much as Rex Ryan does with his 46 and Big Nickel packages on defense. Much like the 46 safety becomes a swing position based on diagnosing the run or pass. The “F” becomes the offensive counter. The “F” role is likely to be determined by offensive personnel and by diagnosing the defense rather than just a simple playcall.
Despite feeling overwhelmed, Ebron told his coaches that he doesn’t want any special treatment.
“Coach just tells me, ‘I understand, you’re going to get through it … we are doing it for a purpose,’” Ebron said. “It’s really hard, but I’m not going to say I’m not enjoying it or not having fun doing it because I know the more I learn the faster I’m able to play, the faster I’m able to produce.”
A lot of attention has been put on Amaro for how he fared this spring and Amaro is essentially in the same boat as Ebron. While Rex Ryan has been complementary, the Jets coach also pointed out Amaro’s overthinking matters during OTAs. Amaro then expressed frustration at himself to the press in a candid at the same OTA in early June.
“It’s a real big learning process for me, especially because I’m so used to plays being so very simple,” Amaro told reporters last month. “I think I’m just over-thinking right now, and I’m not playing my best. But I think it’s all a process. I’ve got to be ready for training camp, and that’s really the big thing for me. I know I’m going to make mistakes out there. I know I’m not going to do my best right now because I’m still learning. I’m just really concentrating on being fully prepared for training camp and really showcasing what I can do.”
And that’s just it. Rome wasn’t built in a day and Amaro can’t be expected to be a three-year NFL veteran after two months in the league. Just as Ebron has, Amaro is adjusting to the voluminous playbook along with being required to run more routes from more spots on the field and understanding the nuances associated with both.
The addition of Amaro with a competent (though potentially flattening career arc) Jeff Cumberland and (still learning the offense after a solid camp last summer with the Patriots) Zach Sudfield round out a solid. We expect Amaro to make an impact on the offense in his first year and while we’re bullish, this TE group isn’t going to be the 2012 Patriots. Most rookie tight ends simply don’t make a massive statistical impact and that might be no different for Ebron and Amaro. Overall the group will be enough and in two years time the group might be one of the league’s most productive, but for now we’ve got to give Amaro the time to learn the offense first.