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Now we know why Dustin Keller dissappeared last season


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NY Jets tight end Dustin Keller is determined to learn how to block this year

by Dave Hutchinson/The Star-Ledger Sunday August 09, 2009, 11:38 PM

large_dkeller.jpgWilliam Perlman/The Star-LedgerTight end Dustin Keller (r.) didn't know how to block last year, so in training camp, he's been working with left tackle D'Brickashaw Ferguson (60) to improve in that area.

CORTLAND, N.Y. -- Jets tight end Dustin Keller doesn't know the percentage -- he says it's something ''crazy,'' the number of times the team passed when he was on the field because of his inability to block.

Confident and proud, Keller is disturbed by the fact that he was a liability in the running game last season and he is on a mission to change that. The problem, though, isn't Keller's want-to, it's the how-to.

''Absolutely, absolutely, without question,'' said tight end coach Mike Devlin. ''Dustin wants to get in there. He wants to do it. Absolutely.''

Keller, a former wide receiver, simply didn't know how to block a year ago and was never asked to learn until he reached the NFL. It got so bad last season that when he was on the field teams simply went to their sub packages -- nickel and dime coverages -- and totally dismissed the run.

''This year, it's going to be different,'' insisted Keller, who had 48 catches for 535 yards and three touchdowns last season as a rookie. ''I'm solidifying my ability to block and I'm going to make big plays whether it be blocking or catching. If I'm able to be on the field for all running plays, teams will always have to guess (if it's a run or pass).

''Blocking is something really new to me. The whole entire concept is a little different for me. But now that I have a year under my belt, there are no excuses. I'm going to go out there and make it happen.''

To that end, Keller has been working with left tackle D'Brickashaw Ferguson almost daily, either before or after practice. The pair also watch film together.

The common thread between the two is that both are undersized for their positions and athletic. Keller is lean (6-foot-2, 248 pounds) and looks more Jerry Rice than Mike Ditka. At 6-6, 305, Ferguson's struggle to keep on weight is well documented.

''The similarity between us is that we're both very athletic and we have to take on bigger guys,'' said Ferguson. ''I'm just trying to teach him some technique, how to use his hands on the inside and get leverage on guys. He's doing really well. He wants to learn.''

What Keller has learned is that blocking is more finesse than power.

'' 'Brick' has given me a few tips on some of the things he does, how to get my hands inside and know what everybody next to me is doing,'' said Keller. ''That makes it a lot easier. You don't have to go out there and blow up a guy all the time, just hold up your guy and give Thomas (Jones) and Leon (Washington) room.''

Once again, the Jets expect big things from Keller in the passing game. With the lack of depth at receiver, he could emerge as the team's de facto second receiver this season.

Last season, the first-round pick (30th overall) out of Purdue became Brett Favre's go-to guy on third down, catching 27 passes in a four-game stretch, including a dramatic third-and-15 grab in an overtime victory at New England in Week 11.

Then, opponents figured it out, and not so coincidentally the Jets went 1-4 down the stretch. Many trace the beginning of the end for Keller when he dropped a key third-and-2 pass in a loss to the 49ers. The next day, coach Eric Mangini criticized him to the media.

''Defenses made the proper adjustment and we never made those counter adjustments,'' said Keller, adding he considers Mangini a friend and worked his football camp this summer in Hartford, Conn. ''Teams were doubling me and using bracket coverage.

''Now, I know how to properly adjust to those kind of things. I'm going to get open. I don't care. Double-coverage. It doesn't matter. I'm going to get open and the quarterback can rely on me to catch the ball.''

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He should have been on the field as a WR if that was the case. There was simply no excuse for not letting a guy with his physical attributes see the field. Whether he was able to block or not it's pretty ****ing obvious that we missed him down the stretch.

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I'll always remember Mike Mayock's pros and cons bullet points when we drafted him.

CONS:

WON'T BLOCK.

It still makes me LOL.

There are so many TE's who come out with the same issues. Greg Olsen had the same problems a year earlier, heck Tony Gonzalez was absolutely awful at blocking when he first came into the league, now he's one of the better blocking TE's.

It's an issues, there's no question about it but it's something that can be picked up with experience.

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This is according to the NYP and rotoworld.com:

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Jets OT Wayne Hunter has been working as a blocking tight end in camp.

The Jets are woefully undermanned at tight end. They figure to be a run-heavy offense, so it makes sense for Hunter to see action as the run-blocking complement to Dustin Keller.

Im guessing Rex is looking into implementing tight sets if hes got Hunter moving to TE and teaching Dustin how to block. The Ravens did a similar thing last year lining Haloti Ngata up at both full back and TE.

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I'm not buying it. I still saw him on the field. He may not be much of a blocker, but teams going to the nickel and dime? He's 248 lbs, he's going to blow up extra DBs in the run game.

I agree.

If teams were switching to Nickel/Dime packages it's probably because he caused match up problems for LB's. He absolutely train raped Jerod Mayo in the win against the Pats.

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Keller disappeared at the same time Favre's arm fell off. Coincidence? I think not.

He's going to have to work his ass off to avoid a sophomore slump, though. Defenses are going to be gunning for him given his success last year, and the lack of other receiving options on the Jets.

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Keller disappeared at the same time Favre's arm fell off. Coincidence? I think not.

He's going to have to work his ass off to avoid a sophomore slump, though. Defenses are going to be gunning for him given his success last year, and the lack of other receiving options on the Jets.

That is what concerns me. He has a world of talent and in his second year he shouldn't be the focal point of the defensive coordinators game planning. Other than stopping the run, focusing on Keller is going to be high on the defense to do list.

Without many other targets I am not sure he will be able to produce at the level we hoped if they are game planning for him.

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That is what concerns me. He has a world of talent and in his second year he shouldn't be the focal point of the defensive coordinators game planning. Other than stopping the run, focusing on Keller is going to be high on the defense to do list.

Without many other targets I am not sure he will be able to produce at the level we hoped if they are game planning for him.

Well, we are going to see this friday what the jets have at wr. I hope I am wrong but at this point I think they need to be considering bringing someone in.

Not a fan of plax the person, but does anyone think this really goes to trial before the end of the season? I think it would be good for his behavior if he had this trial over his head for the whole season.

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I'm not buying it. I still saw him on the field. He may not be much of a blocker, but teams going to the nickel and dime? He's 248 lbs, he's going to blow up extra DBs in the run game.

I thought the same thing

plus, pulling keller would have been an adjustment by mangini to something the other teams were doing, and we know that never happened :lol:

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Defenses have to be scared of Jones, Leon, Cotchery, and Stuckey as well as Keller...and that's not including Greene, a RB who should be good.

It's not like we lack playmakers, even if they're not superstar ones or all WRs.

Keller, Cotchery, Stuckey, and Leon being able to catch the ball matters more than us not having a dynamic WR. Tons of teams don't have one, and Cotchery's a damn good player anyway.

I'm surprised there was no Mangini thing in there like "Coach Eric Mangini constantly berated Keller rather than teach him, while coach Brian Schottenheimer whimpered in a corner. Keller had many a sleepless night because of coach Mangini, and he, for one, is happy the organization decided to open the window and let some fresh air in." I suppose that'd be too straight foward anyway.

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Defenses have to be scared of Jones, Leon, Cotchery, and Stuckey as well as Keller...and that's not including Greene, a RB who should be good.

It's not like we lack playmakers, even if they're not superstar ones or all WRs.

Keller, Cotchery, Stuckey, and Leon being able to catch the ball matters more than us not having a dynamic WR. Tons of teams don't have one, and Cotchery's a damn good player anyway.

Defenses don't have to be scared of ****. Jones, Leon and Greene are going to be useless if Sanchez (Clemens) can get things going. Keller doesn't help the running game either, Stuckey is an average 3rd WR at best, Cotch is a 2nd WR not a first and the season is going to be in the hands of a rookie QB.

Yes we have a few weapons on O but they're not going to be able to do it on their own.

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Defenses don't have to be scared of ****. Jones, Leon and Greene are going to be useless if Sanchez (Clemens) can get things going. Keller doesn't help the running game either, Stuckey is an average 3rd WR at best, Cotch is a 2nd WR not a first and the season is going to be in the hands of a rookie QB.

Yes we have a few weapons on O but they're not going to be able to do it on their own.

WOW.. anything we SHOULD be looking forward to?

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Defenses don't have to be scared of ****. Jones, Leon and Greene are going to be useless if Sanchez (Clemens) can get things going. Keller doesn't help the running game either, Stuckey is an average 3rd WR at best, Cotch is a 2nd WR not a first and the season is going to be in the hands of a rookie QB.

Yes we have a few weapons on O but they're not going to be able to do it on their own.

There is really no logic in that argument. Teams will not put 9 in the box, they really won't, and if they do, we can just make easy passes. Teams eventually figured out last year that Favre had no arm! I am not so worried about this offense.

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Well, we are going to see this friday what the jets have at wr. I hope I am wrong but at this point I think they need to be considering bringing someone in.

Not a fan of plax the person, but does anyone think this really goes to trial before the end of the season? I think it would be good for his behavior if he had this trial over his head for the whole season.

Wasn't he suspended by the team for violating team rules and missing practice? His response to that was to head to a night club wearing a loaded gun tucked in the waistband of his sweats. Color me unimpressed with his response to authority.

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WOW.. anything we SHOULD be looking forward to?

Special teams and the D unless Jenkins gets hurt, then just special teams.

PS17

I don't think they'll need to put 9 in the box they'll just have a safety cheating up. The O will be good once we get a few more pieces and Sanchez gets a few years behind center but this year is going to be awful, we're missing to many things for us to be good.

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