Amaro isn’t the only rookie TE trying to keep up with NFL playbook

Brian Bassett, TheJetsBlog.com

Jets 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.”

Jace AmaroA 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.




228 comments
miamijoe
miamijoe

Brendan,  I wanted to share this with you and only sorry you weren't there.  I was in Jersey this past weekend for the Baptism of my cousin's daughter.  He and I both smoke cigars and went with my uncle and the godfather to J&R in East Hanover NJ to have lunch and a smoke.  I was coming back from the men's room and I saw someone that looked familiar talking to the guys behind the counter about cigars.  I looked closer and instantly recognized him.  We chatted and he said he likes what he sees in the team right now and is always appreciative of the fans.  Really nice guy. 


https://mail.google.com/mail/u/0/?ui=2&ik=67bd6a3557&view=att&th=146f88fe5d43dfd0&attid=0.1&disp=safe&zw 

a57se
a57se

Here is an interesting QB comparison to me:


Player A:  56.4% Comp percentage, 21,711 yards, 134 passing TD's, 99 INT's; 2027 rushing Yards and 14 rushing TD's

Player B:  58.6% Comp percentage, 25,094 yards, 128 passing TD's, 98 INT's; 394 rushing Yards and 0 rushing TD's


Both QB's were drafted by the NY Jets.

Brendan
Brendan

@miamijoe Ah, you just linked to an image from your email, which you can't do (I can't read it unless I have your email login info). 


If you really want to post the image, go to imgur.com and upload it there, then copy/paste it here. 


I'm going to guess, since this was directed at me, that your crew met a golden-bearded man-mountain/Norse diety who also happens to double as center for the NY Jets? 

Bent
Bent moderator

@a57se 0 rushing TD's is definitely Ken O'Brien.

a57se
a57se

@bob 

Sounds about right to me...

tsjc68
tsjc68

@bob

Keep doubting us, world.  I love it.

tsjc68
tsjc68

@Bent @a57se

Every time I'm reminded that KOB had zero career rushing TDs it baffles me.


Really, Ken?  Not one single QB sneak from the half-yard line?  Not once in a whole decade in the league?


I mean, Bradlee Van Pelt has a rushing TD, and he only attempted eight passes.  EIGHT PASSES, KEN. 

Brendan
Brendan

@bob So I take it they got around putting Manziel on there by making Brian Hoyer the starter? 


The guys immediately in front of him are: Fitzpatrick (journeyman), Hoyer (journeyman), Cassell (poor man's journeyman), Manual (rookie who played worse than Geno last year), Henne (journeyman). 


In a vacuum, sure those guys could be better, but they're all old save for one, and the other young guy is not better than Geno, at least at this stage in their respective careers. 

bob
bob

@tsjc68 @bob 

Now that got me laughing apparently NFL coaches aroungd the league took a pole

Brendan
Brendan

@tsjc68 Put a print-out of this one on the bulletin board next to Walter's brilliant "Jets pick first every year" gibberish. 

levi
levi

@miamijoe @Brendan Very cool! Why does he look like a teddy bear instead of the bada$$ he truly is?

Bent
Bent moderator

@tsjc68 @Bent @a57se It's unbelievable.


However, Van Pelt's rushing TD came on a play when they brought him in for a designed run, so that's less amazing.  He lives in the UK now and sells wine, I think.

cosmicwy
cosmicwy

@Brendan @bob I like Geno more and believe he's better, but statistically EJ was better than geno last season.


While I think the eye test makes me lean towards Geno, I'd like to know why others think EJ is worse than Geno.


My only argument for Geno is:  if the jets had 2 top 15 RBs, Steve Johnson (last year), woods, and Chandler he'd have had a much better year.


Other than that, EJ didn't have a bad year.

bob
bob

@Brendan @bob 

I tell  those couches must not have watch Geno to much of course most people dont agree with me but I thought Geno played really well for his 1st year getting thrown into the fire.

tsjc68
tsjc68

@Brendan @bob

Every one of those NFL coaches who collectively (and non-ordinally, btw) rated Geno below those guys would all start Geno above those guys if both those guys were QBs on the team they coached.

miamijoe
miamijoe

@levi @miamijoe @Brendan He was ready to smoke a cigar probably.  I'm 6'3" and 250 and was surprised at first at his size because it wasn't what I thought....then I pictured him in uniform and got it right away.  He is rock solid.

tsjc68
tsjc68

@Bent @tsjc68 @a57se

"Bradlee Van Pelt" totally sounds like a guy who moved to the UK to sell wine.  I believe it.

Pete 57
Pete 57

What's his face that went to the Bengals.

SackDance99
SackDance99

@Brendan @a57se By most statistical analyses, Geno has an uphill battle based upon his rookie season to ever becoming a legitimate franchise QB.  But, there were many QBs that were putrid their rookie seasons who did become consistently productive NFL starters.  I predict a complete turnabout for Geno in his second season, with a completion percentage over 60% and a 2-1 TD-INT ratio, to go along with productive rushing numbers.  He'll settle somewhere between Drew Brees and Alex Smith as an NFL QB.

Brendan
Brendan

@cosmicwy EJ didn't have a good year, one thing he's definitely better than Geno at is just taking a sack or not forcing a throw. Geno did that too much early on, but he stopped it towards the end. If you're offering me "final four games Geno" or "best four games EJ" (before he got hurt), I'm taking Geno. 

tsjc68
tsjc68

@cosmicwy @Brendan @bob

Asked and answered.


Neither Geno nor Manuel played well, last year, on balance.  Geno gets the nod over Manuel because he played better as the season progressed and did so with far less help.

Brendan
Brendan

@SackDance99 I'm a little less bullish than you. In discussing this earlier, I kind of settled in on a 1.5:1 TD:INT ratio, which seems fair to me. I don't expect the pendulum to swing that far in the positive direction, but something where he's got a completion approaching (or possibly slightly over) 60% and 1.5:1 TD:INT makes him a rising young QB. I'd be perfectly happy with that. 

cosmicwy
cosmicwy

@Brendan @cosmicwy Just to play devils advocate, EJ had ONLY four really good games.  one being the game against us, and they are arguably better than geno's 4 (on paper).


Idk, i'm just wondering if we're undervaluing EJ and overvaluing Geno.


EJ battled injures and he also had a better TD:INT ratio, pass%, 1 less TD in 6 less games, 12 less INTs in 6 less games, and a better QB rating.


I just am curious, WHAT makes him obviously worse?

bob
bob

@levi @cosmicwy 

I think this year Geno will come out and light them up..

levi
levi

@tsjc68 Damn you and your lightning fast typing fingers.

Pete 57
Pete 57

Thanks for giving me credit even though I had a momentary brain fart on the name.

bklyndude
bklyndude

@Brendan @SackDance99

I would love that kind of improvement in his second year.  

I would sign up for 60%, 3500 yards and 18 TD's and 18 INT's,  and hope the third year would see more TD's to INT's.

SackDance99
SackDance99

@Brendan @SackDance99 His college performance is still the best indicator and he did throw 98 TDs to 21 INTs.  I thought his receivers were far below replacement level last season and he only had 1 receiver that he actually threw to during his injury-marred training camp.  That's why I expect a radically better season.

Brendan
Brendan

@cosmicwy I'm sure there's some bias in these comments, we are talking about the Jets' rival QB. 


Injuries certainly play a role, EJ getting nicked and missing time is a negative for me compared to Geno since Geno took some licks last year and kept getting up. 


Regarding what makes EJ worse, keep in mind we're trying to project here, so it's not going to be provable, at least not for a few years. I think Geno's running ability is a big positive, and while EJ is an athletic pocket passer, he's not going to be a big runner in the NFL. Geno has the opportunity to be, and once he starts executing positive runs on the field things in the passing game should start opening up. I'm expecting Geno's legs to play a big role in 2014. 


Regarding the two as passers, they're probably fairly even. Geno's slump KILLED his yearly stats, and while we can't just ignore those games, do we think they might be the outlier in his career? I don't think we'll ever see Geno play as poorly or as gunshy/conservatively as he did in November. So, Geno-minus-November as a QB looks pretty damn good. 


I don't think either has set himself apart as far as accuracy goes, and I do think that the players around EJ helped mask some of his deficiencies where their Jets counterparts couldn't with Geno, but you have a fair point. Realistically, they're close to even, but I think Geno has a brighter future. He has more game experience, he's a better runner and his supporting cast was just upgraded around him. It will definitely be interesting to watch, but if I was a betting man, I'm betting on Geno. 

a57se
a57se

@cosmicwy 

Because he isn't a Jet!!!

he doesn't get the Happy Meal treatment!

levi
levi

@cosmicwy  I think its to soon to guage who's better at this pointBut seeing as we are Jets fans....GENO FOR PRESIDENT!!!

a57se
a57se

@Pete 57 

To think we kept Browning Nagle over Jeff Blake in 93 and basically traded Blake for a washed up Esiason...

Yes, I was pissed about that move too...

Brendan
Brendan

@SackDance99 I definitely think he'll jump, I'm just trying to be a little conservative. 

Brendan
Brendan

@a57se I was unaware that cosmic asked for your snark-filled BS. Move along, Jasper. 

bklyndude
bklyndude

@SackDance99 @bklyndude

With as many new players as the Jets have added this year,  it's not crazy to think Geno will have some bad games or stretches.   Those are the games that will make his season numbers dip.

SackDance99
SackDance99

@Brendan @SackDance99 I'm more confident about his completion percentage (better RB and TE targets and a much better #1 WR), but the way I get to a 2-1 TD-INT ratio is with over 30 TDs, which might not happen because of the Jets' productive running game and Geno's rushing ability.

Brendan
Brendan

@cosmicwy Ah, got access now. 


Pretty interesting. Geno has 11 total TD's to Manuel's 8. Geno has 3 INT's with 1 fumble lost (4 total TO's) while EJ has 2 INT's and 2 fumbles lost (4 total TO's). 


These seem to be a microcosm of something I noticed on a larger scale, that Geno seems to go for bigger gains/takes more risks while EJ likes to be more of an efficient tactician. 

Brendan
Brendan

@cosmicwy It said I had to request access, so I clicked that. No posting my email on escort sites or anything, my friends have done that and I don't want to get a new email again. 

a57se
a57se

@cosmicwy 

the link goes to an e-mail sign in....NO BENT, no coffee girl!

Brendan
Brendan

@SackDance99 Yeah, I'm more confident in his completion % going up than a reversal of his TD:INT ratio. Simply by reducing the amount of times he forces a throw that should help correct his completion.

cosmicwy
cosmicwy

@Brendan @cosmicwy I made it public for all.


Yea, this little discussion is justpumping me up for the season.  

bklyndude
bklyndude

@SackDance99 @bklyndude

He is not a seasoned veteran yet and expecting him to make that leap in his second year is being optimistic.   

I hope he does,  but historically QB's take time to develop.

Brendan
Brendan

@cosmicwy Damn right. I was fortunate to have the WC take most of my attention for the past few weeks, but now it's crunch time for training camp and I neeeeeed some real football. 


It's getting to the point where I simply can't watch the Mets, so yeah...bring on training camp. 

SackDance99
SackDance99

@bklyndude @SackDance99 Actually, there's a 2nd year leap for many elite QBs.  Some are exponential, like Marino's 2nd year, and some are incremental, like Peyton's.  The big improvement is usually with INTs.

a57se
a57se

@SackDance99 @bklyndude 

Dan Marino had great stats his rookie season as well but he did have a phenomenal sophmore year.

It was probably the best year of his career as he set career highs in Yards and TD's....

Andrew Luck and Peyton Manning have had very similar performance increases from rookie to 2nd year.

Both saw a 5-6% increase in completion percentage and a near 50% reduction in Int Rate...

Both also threw the ball less their second seasons but Peyton threw for more yards...


The biggest difference between any of these guys and Geno was their production...Marino threw 20 TD passes in 9 games his rookie season while Peyton threw 26 and Luck 23.....

Brendan
Brendan

@bklyndude I think that comment was taking into account all the teams in the minors, too. 

a57se
a57se

@bklyndude 

For either NY Baseball team the way things look right now.

SackDance99
SackDance99

@a57se @SackDance99 @bklyndude I didn't mean to do an exhaustive analysis and, like I said, Eli also improved substantially (6 TDs, 9 INTs to 24 TDs, 17 INTs).  Most rookie QB starters that make it have substantially better 2nd seasons.  While others build on their successes (Big Ben, Wilson, etc.) or continue stinking.

SackDance99
SackDance99

@bklyndude @SackDance99 Well, it's usually the highly-touted QBs that start in their rookie seasons that become elite.  Luck, for example, cut his INTs in half.  Eli (who I don't think is elite) cut his INTs down substantially.  If Geno is going to be a starter, whether elite or not, the 2nd year has to mean a substantial improvement in his INTs.  If not, then he'll likely be in the bust category...he won't get a 3rd season.

Brendan
Brendan

@bklyndude I don't even care about elite right now. Give me average. I would roll around in some average QB like a pig in sht. And so would Rex, because that means his team is probably winning 10 games and making the playoffs. 

SackDance99
SackDance99

@bklyndude @a57se @SackDance99 Like I said, rookie QBs that start and succeed in the NFL are usually pretty good.  Also, lots of rookie starters don't start all 16 games.  For instance, Cutler was solid his rookie season in INT %, but got better his 2nd season...so did Wilson.  It's hard to come up with a QB that started all 16 games as a rookie and ended up just being okay...usually it's a stud or a bust.

bklyndude
bklyndude

@Brendan @bklyndude

I think Geno will play league average for a lot of the games next season,  but inevitably will have a few stinkers as young QB's are known to have.  If he has a few games that get out of hand and he starts heaving the ball up,  his numbers will get out of whack by the end of the season.

I think the team has a chance at the playoffs this year,  but I think with as many rookies and FA's added this year and salary cap situation not being maxed out,  the team is really looking more towards 2015 to be their year.

Brendan
Brendan

@bklyndude Let's not talk about him right now, either (he's getting smashed in AAA right now). 

bklyndude
bklyndude

@SackDance99 @bklyndude @a57se

I would expect better numbers from Geno if he played on a better team,  much like Russell Wilson or Colin Kaepernick.  But the Jets are not in the same class as the Seahawks or Niners.  I'm not sure Geno is as good as them either.

We are getting there,  it takes time.

SackDance99
SackDance99

@a57se @bklyndude I just don't have the database to find the right filter and any QB that succeeded after a tough rookie year usually is pretty good.  Aikman, for instance, had a poor rookie season, but showed great improvement his 2nd year.  If I compared Aikman to Marino after his rookie season, you'd raise the same facts.  Aikman never had the gaudy stats of Marino, but I'd take Aikman over Marino as a QB.  Could Geno be more like Aikman than Marino?  Who knows, but IMO it all begins with his 2nd season.

bklyndude
bklyndude

@Brendan @bklyndude

He's not completely recovered yet.  I have much confidence his ship will be righted shortly.  To good not to get back to where he was.

SackDance99
SackDance99

@bklyndude @SackDance99 @a57se Hmmm, my point is that it really doesn't take time.  If Geno doesn't substantially improve (which I think will happen), he won't get a 3rd season.  This isn't Aikman's Cowboys when everyone knew the team was 3-4 years away.  The Jets have a near-elite defense, a top 10 running game and just went out a got the #1 UFA WR.  Geno doesn't have the luxury of time.

tsjc68
tsjc68

@SackDance99 @a57se @bklyndude

Aikman never had the gaudy stats of Marino, but I'd take Aikman over Marino as a QB. 


That is an interesting statement that I'd like to hear you flesh out in greater detail.

tsjc68
tsjc68

@SackDance99 @bklyndude @a57se

Yeah, if Geno doesn't make pretty substantial improvements this year, then the 2015 Jets QB will be Michael Vick + (insert your favorite QB prospect currently playing in college this fall).

SackDance99
SackDance99

@tsjc68 @SackDance99 @a57se @bklyndude It's like comparing Karl Malone to Tim Duncan...there are athletes who just make everyone around them better.  Aikman could've gotten into shootouts, but he distributed the ball, handed off and maintained an insanely high (for his day) completion percentage.  Give Aikman Duper and Clayton and have him throw over 500 passes (which he did once in his career, while Dan did it 11 times!) and his stats would've been closer to Marino's...but it's the rings, right?

tsjc68
tsjc68

@SackDance99 @tsjc68 @a57se @bklyndude

Sure, but the flipside is "Give Marino Emmitt Smith and Michael Irvin and the Dallas defense" and maybe he wins five rings.


I could be mistaken, but I'm pretty sure Don Shula just eliminated the runningback position altogether after Mercury Morris retired.

SackDance99
SackDance99

@tsjc68 @SackDance99 @a57se @bklyndude Would Marino have been happy with handing it off?  Did he go into Shula's office and say: "Don, I like racking up great numbers, but didn't Griese win rings by handing off and playing to the defense?  Mind getting me some RBs?"


Namath said that he finally "got it" after his 5 INT debacle in Buffalo in '68...his running game and defense were pretty good and he didn't need to do it all for the team to win.  I wonder whether Marino was content with having as many Dolphin SB appearances as David Woodley?