A Leaner Jeff Cumberland Fights for Starting Spot (VIDEO)
CORTLAND, NY – Jets tight end Jeff Cumberland finished last season with 359 receiving yards and three touchdowns. Before the team signed veteran Kellen Winslow before camp, it looked like Cumberland would take the top spot. He did come to replace Dustin Keller last season when he was plagued with repeated ankle issues. Now it’s yet another competition for the number one tight end spot.
But Cumberland says it’s something he’s used to. He’s ready to compete with Winslow, who hasn’t played a full game in the league since 2011. “There’s been competition at the tight end position ever since I’ve gotten here in 2010.”
Cumberland has come to camp 10 pounds lighter than normal, which he says has helped improve his speed. Coach Ryan has noticed.
“I see Cumberland is finally gaining his speed back,” Ryan said.
The number on the scale may have dropped, but the number on Cumberland’s jersey has increased by one. The 6’ 4”, 260-pound tight end previously wore #86. Ryan joked, “You look faster in #87.”
Cumberland has seen 3 different offensive systems during his three years with the Jets, but he’s looking forward to Marty Morningwig’s playbook because there’ll be more plays designed for his position.
“It’s a west coast offense, so there’s more passing and it gets the tight ends involved a lot,” he says. “It should be a big season.”
It’ll be interesting to see whether Winslow or Cumberland play with the first team tomorrow during the big Green v. White scrimmage. Cumberland doesn’t know what the coaches plan for him.
“I’m here to play,” he says. “When the coach tells me to go in tomorrow, that’s when I’m in.”
Check out the below video for Evan Slavit’s full interview with Jeff Cumberland.