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Take this rankings with a grain of salt. Their take on this guy is pretty unfair. I don’t know where to begin . . .
I don’t quote this service because I have no idea how they evaluate player, or who is doing the evaluation. I’m not going to blindly follow their lead. I refuse to do it. Perhaps they do great work, but I need to know who the cooks in the kitchen are.
I keep hearing that a service called Pro Football Focus, which is quoted religiously by many football writers these days, ranked Jeff Cumberland last out of 67 tight ends who played 25 percent of their team’s snaps last season.
This is absolutely, positively ridiculous.
He had 23 catches for 247 yards and three touchdowns last year.
So he gets ripped for his poor production. Unfair.
First of all, do you want him to throw to himself? The Jets quarterback play last year wasn’t great. It’s not like they got a lot of different weapons involved consistently. This isn’t a Drew Brees, Aaron Rodgers or Tom Brady scenario, where they are getting to their third and fourth reads, and constantly getting a myriad of targets involved. Geno Smith, like a lot of young quarterbacks, tends to lock on his primary receiver. Once in a while he gets to his second read. Getting to the third or fourth read happens as often as an eclipse.
Cumberland was often a third or fourth read. So he didn’t get thrown to very often. Not his fault. Once again, do you want him to throw to himself?
Somebody the other day was criticizing former Jets WR coach Sanjay Lal to me. Who did he develop with the Jets? I hear this a lot. I actually think he’s a pretty good coach. It’s hard to shine as a receivers coach with a shaky signal-caller. Lal, who is in Buffalo now, wasn’t the quarterback. He doesn’t throw to his receivers in practice or games. There is only so much he can do.
Same theory for Cumberland. He can’t throw to himself.
And aside from not being targeted, another reason Cumberland wasn’t that involved in the passing game is that he’s turned into a pretty good blocker, and he was asked to stay in quite a lot. He’s a thickly-built 6-4, 255-pounder with a powerful base. He’s built to block, and has embraced the role.
Cumberland played 83 percent of the offensive snaps last year. Why? Because the coaches really liked his blocking, and Jace Amaro, as we know, is a project as a blocker, and struggled in this area as a rookie.
And now, with a new coaching staff, Cumberland is still viewed as the starting tight end, and Amaro is viewed as an H-Back. The new coaches saw the film and realized that Cumberland is light years ahead of Amaro as a blocker. And honestly, Amaro isn’t really a better receiver than Cumberland. Who dropped the ball more last year? Amaro.
Actually, Cumberland is faster than Amaro. Cumberland ran in the 4.5 are coming out of Illinois, and Amaro ran 4.74 at the combine last year.
There are certain reporters obsessed with the narrative that Amaro needs to take over for Cumberland as the #1 tight end. Now! They ask a lot of questions about it. They don’t get why Amaro is behind Cumberland.
Because right now, Cumberland is better than Amaro.
Cumberland is the better blocker.
As for the receiving, it’s hard for me to evaluate Cumberland because he’s so underutilized. Cumberland has the speed to stretch the seam. He’s displayed that when given a chance. Cumberland is mismatch for a lot of linebackers.
If people think they know better than the previous staff, and current staff, at evaluating tight ends, that is their right.
But I’m with the coaches on this one – former and present.
Cumberland is a solid all-around tight end. Not great, but solid.
Not sure where all the hate is coming from.
June 26, 2015
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