For the past two years, fans of the New York Jets have seen several top targets walk through and away their doors. One skill position that had not produced over the 2015 and 2016 season was the tight end. From Kellen Davis, Brandon Bostick to Jeff Cumberland, the tight end position has been one filled with mediocrity in New York. Heading into the 2017 regular season, Jets tight ends had caught 26 passes for 268 yards and one touchdown, over the past two seasons. The lack of any production from such a key position was one of the reasons the Jets claimed ex Buccaneer, Austin Seferian-Jenkins off waivers during the later games of 2016. With a full off-season under his belt in New York, Seferian-Jenkins has produced as a go-to target and a renaissance for the tight end position for the Jets.
Through the first six weeks of the 2017 season, Seferian-Jenkins and the rest of the tight end crew has far exceeded the production of the past two years. Jets tight ends have totaled 31 catches for 257 yards and two touchdowns. Seferian-Jenkins has 23 catches for 152 yards and both touchdowns out of those tight ends. He would have had three touchdowns had it not been for a very questionable “fumble” last week against new England. Seferian-Jenkins has looked incredibly comfortable through his first six weeks. In the month of October, the 6’5″ receiver from Washington has averaged just under seven yards per catch and has become a reliable target in the new West Coast offense that Offensive Coordinator, John Morton, is running. It is something that has been noticed by Jets head Coach, Todd Bowles.
“Because he is in a different spot mentally, you see a different player, and I think that goes on and off the field. We see a lot of things in him. He wants to be the best, and he wants to help the organization and show that he can be the best, and obviously when you get somebody like that that turns their life around, they listen to everything you’re trying to tell them and they try to apply it, and that’s what he’s doing.”
One of Seferian-Jenkins biggest weaknesses throughout his career has been his run blocking capabilities. That is one problem that Bowles has seen the 25-year-old improve on.
“He’s getting better every day. He has some good blocks. He has some blocks he needs to work on. He’ll tell you, and I’ll tell you, he can do a lot more. He’s just scratching the surface, but he’s working his tail off and he’s getting better every week, and we’re happy with him.”
Coming off a DUI arrest last season, Seferian-Jenkins came to New York with a giant question mark. Coach Bowles understood that and felt that claiming the tight end would give him the ability to start fresh.
“You discuss everybody you pick up, and understandably if somebody had a past problem, you weigh the plusses and the minuses and you give them a shot and start them with a clean slate and they make their plusses or minuses as they go from there, but Austin has been nothing but positive. He’s been great going forward every day, so I’m happy for him.”
With the Jets at 3-3 and a huge game against the rival Dolphins upcoming, expect Austin Seferian-Jenkins to be a big factor in the Jets offensive gameplan.
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