Tuesday, October 8, 2013
Jets' tight ends step up vs. Falcons
By Matt Winkeljohn Special to ESPNNewYork.com
ATLANTA -- New York Jets tight end Jeff Cumberland was not surprised that offensive coordinator Marty Mornhinweg and quarterback Geno Smith had him in mind Monday night, when two of Smith's three touchdowns passes went to tight ends.
Jeff Cumberland was the Jets' leading receiver against the Falcons.
Cumberland's 20-yard scoring strike in the second quarter and fellow tight end Kellen Winslow's 1-yard touchdown reception in the fourth both came against favorable matchups in the Jets' 30-28 win over the Atlanta Falcons.
The one to Cumberland pitted him against Falcons rookie linebacker Joplo Bartu, who was undrafted out of Texas State.
On the Jets' next possession, Cumberland ran the same route straight downfield and caught a 47-yarder, with Bartu again trailing in coverage. That set up Smith's second touchdown pass, a 16-yard connection to wide receiver Jeremy Kerley.
The fourth-year tight end caught three passes for 79 yards and a score.
“Me and Marty had a one-on-one talk last week, and he said some things he wanted to do with me and get me more involved in the offense,” Cumberland said. “I gave a little outside move [on the touchdown], but it was pretty much a vertical route and I just used my speed and maneuvered around, and Geno found me.
“We saw through our film that some teams were able to go vertical on them, and those two plays that's what we did.”
While Cumberland wasn't surprised to have his number called, Winslow may have been irritated his wasn't called more often.
He entered the game as the Jets' leading receiver with 16 catches, but was targeted just once on Monday, on the 1-yarder that Smith lofted over Falcons safety William Moore in the back-right corner of the end zone.
Winslow caught the ball, keeping his feet inbounds, and with 12 minutes left in the game the Jets led 27-14.
Smith said Winslow was expressing some frustration on the sideline during the game, and when approached by reporters afterward and asked to respond, Winslow said, “I don't think that would be a good choice.”
Winslow had been listed as questionable for the game, and only practiced once last week because of chronic knee pain.
Smith sure liked Mornhinweg's choice of play there. “Great call by Marty,” said the quarterback, who completed 16 of 20 passes for 199 yards and three touchdowns without any turnovers. “Got the play we wanted, had to put some touch on the ball to get it over the safety, William Moore. He's a great player, and it was a great catch by Kellen.”
Cumberland was impressed by the rookie quarterback.
“He's been in some big-time games in college [for West Virginia], and to come in here and be that composed [was great],” Cumberland said. “We knew it was going to be 60 minutes of football, and that's what it was.”