Jace Amaro learning to play tight end all over again
Welcome to the three-point stance.
Jets second-round pick Jace Amaro isn’t just making a transition to the NFL tight end, he’s learning how to play the same position all over again.
During his record-breaking season at Texas Tech last year, Amaro was a tight end in name only. He was used mainly as a match-up problem in the slot and lined up off the line. Now, he needens to broaden his ability and that includes being able to play in the three-point stance and be a reliable blocker for the ground game.
Last season at Texas Tech, Amaro estimated he got 15 plays each game in the three-point stance out of 100 offensive snaps run by the Red Raiders. That number will shift dramatically this year with the Jets.
“The times I was in a three-point stance, it was a very specific play for me. It wasn’t just like I was there to be there,” Amaro said. “I was there doing something important for the team. Just a certain play that was designed for me a certain run that way or something like that.”
Amaro said the number of reps he got in a three-point stance on Friday on the first day of rookie minicamp was “probably as much as I did all last season.” It is a new challenge for him to say the least.
The team has been down this road before with some success. The Jets already have a tight end on their roster who made a similar transition. In 2010, Jeff Cumberland came from a college career where he was mainly deployed as a wide receiver at Illinois, even though he did see some snaps at tight end. Now Amaro is being transitioned to the line as well.
On Friday, Amaro primarily played along the line and was rarely split out wide. While he looked a bit uncertain in the crouch rather than standing up, he nonetheless displayed tremendous athleticism and unsurprisingly showed tremendous pass-catching ability.
“A guy with that kind of size, his kind of receiving skills, an excellent route-runner, absolutely he will add to our passing game,” head coach Rex Ryan said. “He’s a tough guy to cover.”
Last season, he averaged 104 yards per game, an NCAA record. But he will need to transition to rounding out his skillset, beyond just being a target tight end.
“If I really want to play a lot, which I do, that’s something I need to do – is really work on my three-point stance game,” Amaro said. “And that’s from blocking to running routes out of it and that’s truly different. Running routes out of the slot spot, then it is the tight end spot. Once you get out there running, you feel good about so I felt really good for my first day back.”
Follow Jets beat writer Kristian Dyer on Twitter @KristinRDyer.