Jeff Cumberland gives the New York Jets offense a glimmer of potential in a way it quietly possesses this strange 2013 offseason. The 6-4, 260-pound tight end has a long way to go before he more than just looks like Antonio Gates, but amidst an offense of interesting young players like Jeremy Kerley, Geno Smith and Chris Ivory, Cumberland likewise brings a skill set that could potentially make this unit potentially decent.
Or at least professional.
This would run in contrast to the 2012 campaign that Mike Tannenbaum and Rex Ryan drove into the ground due to their past salary cap sins and long-term commitment to Mark Sanchez, and Sanchez still remains in the picture in part because of those cap mistakes. The stink hasn’t been washed off from recent years quite yet and new general manager John Idzik is doing his best, and Cumberland is one of the lesser-known skill position players that could step up in 2013 — quarterback-willing of course, with the Jets as always.
Cumberland has been named the started at tight end for now while the Jets try out other options for the tight end position. Kellen Winslow was brought in for a look this week as well. But I believe they’ll stick with their own big, surprisingly swift TE — Cumberland ran a 4.45-second 40-yard dash out of college — through training camp and into Week 1. Let’s see how he builds off his modest 29-catch, 359-yard, three-touchdown campaign last season.
“We’ll certainly look at all possibilites,” Ryan said this week, via The Star-Ledger. “Again, Jeff Cumberland is a big, fast guy I think’s he’s improved. His blocking has really improved. I’ll be excited to see how he progresses.”