EAST RUTHERFORD NJ - SEPTEMBER 13: Dustin Keller #81 of the New York Jets reacts after a play against the Baltimore Ravens during their home opener at the New Meadowlands Stadium on September 13 2010 in East Rutherford New Jersey. (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)
The first pre-season game and he fourth pre-season games are usually the ones that don't generate that much interest. On one hand it's good to have football back, on the other we really don't see a great deal.
Dustin Keller has come out an said that he expects 2012 to be his best year yet and that he'll end up getting recognition in the form of a pro bowl position.
Keller has been one of the most reliable Jet receivers since he was drafted back in 2008 and put up a very good year stat wise in 2011 with 815 yards and 5 scores. With Tony Sparano leading the charge on the offensive side of the football, I'm not so sure that he will top that 815 mark but he isn't just concentrating on being the best pass catcher he can be.
Dustin has made significant strides with his blocking, and now spends a good portion of practise working with Tight Ends Coach Mike Devlin on improving his blocking technique, hand placement and footwork. His coaches have recognised the improvement but Keller wants even more
"You should always have higher expectations than your coach has for you," Keller said. "I think he has some very high expectations for me, but there’s some things that certainly bother me a lot more than they bother him.
Unfortunately there is still one underlying issue that can't be ignored when it comes to Keller and 2012. At the moment he is playing out the final year of his contract on a salary of $3.052 million and the Jets have made little movement on attempting to secure him to a long term contract. As much as Keller is the ultimate professional and insists it will not affect his play on the field, he is starting to feel a little off about it:
"It’s absolutely discouraging," Keller said of not getting an extension. "But it’s not something that’s going to affect me. It’s not going to affect my play. But if I’m a part of this team’s future and they want me to be a part of the future, I would really appreciate if they showed that and signed me to a deal that would keep me around here a little longer, at this point like they usually do with their first-rounders."