Keller ready for a breakout year

June, 6, 2010
6/06/10
7:19
AM ET
Sunday notes to enjoy in between World Cup preview sections:

Special K. After two solid seasons, including an impressive, three-game stretch in last year's postseason, TE Dustin Keller is ready for big things in 2010. "Expect a big-time player," Keller said Thursday at OTAs. "Definitely, this will be my best year. Statistically, who knows? But I'm going to be more ready than I ever have been."

Brash talk from the usually understated Keller. The question is, how many balls will he see?

It will be fascinating to see how Keller fits into the passing game now that QB Mark Sanchez has three front-line options at wide receiver -- Jerricho Cotchery, Braylon Edwards and newcomer Santonio Holmes.

There are two schools of thought: 1. Keller will benefit because defenses will be rolling their coverages to the outside, creating favorable matchups for him over the middle. 2. Keller won't get as many opportunities because he'll be No. 4 in the pecking order, behind the three wideouts.

What will it be? Keller admitted he's not sure how it's going to shake out, noting, "We're returning the top rushing offense and we brought in Santonio Holmes. We have one of the best receiving corps, if not the best. We'll have a more balanced attack so people can't load the box, but we'll see when training camp starts how it plays out."

In other words, Keller isn't counting his receptions before they're hatched. But if called upon, he expects to deliver. He said O.C. Brian Schottenheimer has talked to him about expanding his role, lining him up in different spots in the formation. In theory, that should make it more difficult for defenses to focus on him. Keller also said they've adjusted some of his routes, providing more freedom to change on the fly.

The challenge for Schottenheimer is to keep everybody happy. Keller played about 70% of the snaps last season, often in a two-TE package in Ben Hartsock. This season, that package could be used less frequently, which could hurt the running game. Look for a lot of the "11" personnel package -- one back, one tight end and three receivers.

"I think it will be kind of a pick-your-poison situation," said Keller, who posted 12 catches and three TDs during the postseason, the first time all year he appeared in sync with Sanchez.

Laying down the Law. Former star CB Ty Law, who has played for what seems like half the teams in the NFL (including the New York Jets and New England Patriots), weighed in on the Darrelle Revis contract dispute. Speaking to Matt Williamson on an ESPN podcast, Law said Revis is the best cornerback in football and that corners around the league are upset by Revis' current situation. Disclaimer: Law and Revis are close friends from Aliquippa, Pa.

"There's no way he's supposed to go out there and play for $550,000 ($1 million with bonuses) when you've got a guy like Nnamdi Asomugha making $15 million," Law said. "That doesn't sit well with Darrelle and the rest of the corners around the league."

Law said Revis "is worth the fortune because he's the best cornerback in football, if not the best defensive player. The reason I say that is because he has no glaring weakness ... The coach (Rex Ryan) goes on record, calling him the best defensive back since Deion Sanders and says he's more valuable to (his) defense than the great Ray Lewis. So, of course, Darrelle says, 'If I'm that valuable, show me the money.'"

Law continued: "Revis Island was one of those destinations you could go to on a discount. Not too many knew about it, but guess what? Everybody knows about Revis Island now and the rent went up. Everybody is trying to go there now."

Everybody over Mark's place. Sanchez is planning to invite the receivers to his place in Southern California for a pitch-and-catch session before training camp. He used to do it all the time in college, but the logistics were easier because USC was only an hour from his house.

Nevertheless, he wants to make it happen, especially because of the inactivity due to his knee rehab. He wants to "make up for a little lost time ... and make sure we’re sharp going into camp. We’re giving them plenty of time to get on their vacations and make that kind of part of their vacation. We’ll make it fun for them, too. I don’t want to kill these guys. We’ll have fun with it. They’ll bring a wife or fiancÚ maybe and then hopefully we’ll make it an annual thing."

Odds and ends. Former Cleveland Browns S Brodney Pool, the likely replacement for Kerry Rhodes, always seems to have a smile on his face, according to Ryan. "If you had a chance to leave my brother, you'd be smiling, too," said Ryan, alluding to his twin, Rob, the Browns' defensive coordinator ... LG Vlad Ducasse still is making his share of rookie mistakes, but Alan Faneca's old job is his to lose. Ryan still says it's an open competition with Matt Slauson, but Ducasse would have to fall flat not to get the job ... It makes no sense to use LB Bart Scott on the punt team, but Ryan is serious about it. "We're going to put an all-star team out there," he said ... RB LaDainian Tomlinson, who has a San Diego Chargers tattoo on one calf (it' the image of a lightning bolt), now has a Jets tattoo on the other calf. "I think that shows the type of commitment he has," Ryan said. If his predecessor, Thomas Jones, did that, he would've run out of leg space a few years ago.

Rich Cimini

ESPN New York Jets reporter

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