My friend Steve Hunter, who I've cited to before, wrote a fantastic article about the return of Dustin Keller this past weekend, which you can read here. As with all of his stuff, I highly suggest you give it a read.
Steve brings up some great points about Keller's role on the offense so far. As Mark Sanchez's safety blanket, he is a threat that must be accounted for in the passing game. And although he has been a truly atrocious blocker in the past, he is making strides in that department as well. Assuming he is healthy, which he says he is now, the New York Jets need a tight end who can compliment Keller.
All of this considered, I would like to ask Rex Ryan and Tony Sparano, why, in God's name, is Jeff Cumberland still being used more than Konrad Reuland?
Cumberland is, truthfully, a big wide receiver. He has amazing size and physical characteristics, but is really only valuable in the passing game. He has absolutely zero skill as a blocker, and makes Dustin Keller look like Rob Gronkowski in that department. That gives the Jets two receiving tight ends, one of which is an average blocker and the other looks more like Wayne Hunter.
In a run-first offense like the Jets are purported to be, and especially one headed by Sparano, you need to have good blockers, especially from the tight end position. Both in the run and passing games, Sparano likes to leave in extra men to block. It's difficult to do that when both of your top two tight ends are better receivers than blockers.
So enter Konrad Reuland, who to me has been a revelation this season. He played with Sanchez in high school, and the two have a chemistry that Sanchez does not have with Cumberland. With the exception of one drop that comes to mind, Reuland has been solid, although not dynamic, in the passing game with four receptions on five targets. He has been especially good as a blocker, seeing time as a H-Back, a combination of the tight end and fullback positions. But lately he hasn't seen much playing time, with only four snaps in the last game against the Colts, to 36 for Cumberland.
Generally, Reuland is the most complete tight end we have. He isn't as dynamic a receiver as Keller or Cumberland, but he's far superior as a blocker. And I, for one, would like to see him featured more in our offense.