Kellen Winslow, Jr. played one game last season, posting one reception for 12 yards. This season, the New York Jets tight end is hoping to bring in 99 more catches than he did in 2012. It's a lofty goal, especially for a player who has struggled with injuries throughout his career. The talent is there, and if healthy Kellen Winslow, Jr. will be a major target for the Jets. But can he stay healthy to back up his words?
The New York Jets signed Kellen Winslow Jr. after a minicamp tryout, looking to take a shot on a talented but oft-injured target with Dustin Keller having signed with the Miami Dolphins this offseason. Winslow impressed at minicamp, quickly receiving praise from Rex Ryan and earning a spot on the team. His presence immediately gives the Jets legitimacy at the tight end position, whereas previously Jeff Cumberland and project player Hayden Smith were at the top of the depth chart.
Kellen Winslow, Jr. isn't settling for simply being the starter. On a Jets team without a ton of proven ability in the receiving corps, his goal is to make a major impact, as he told Manish Mehta of the New York Daily News:
"I averaged around 72 (catches per season over my career),” Winslow said on Friday. “My job is to just make plays. When it comes my way, just make the play. I can exceed that. My goal is always to catch 100 balls. Haven’t done it yet, but that’s my goal. I want to come close.”
A pretty lofty goal for a player who only played in one game last season, record a single reception. Kellen Winslow, Jr. has backed up the talk with work, making the trip out to California this week to workout at Jets West with Mark Sanchez and other Jets players. Still, this is part of what makes the Jets frustrating at times. All the talk about or from unproven players, or often injured ones, can become tiresome. Hopefully Kellen Winslow, Jr. can stay healthy and be a solid tight end this season. That's all the Jets are looking for from him.