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Keller’s Take on Bake, Blocking and His QBs

Posted by Eric Allen on April 10, 2009 – 9:11 am

The Jets released Chris Baker in February and the Patriots wasted little time scooping up the veteran tight end.

“I was kind of surprised," Dustin Keller said this week. "It’s always the Jets and the Patriots going at it, but I think it’s going to be a great fit for him. I think he’s going to do well. Every time he played against them, he had a good game. He’s going to be in that stadium [Gillette] every week, so it’s going to be really good for him.”

We’ll never know if the Jets would have preferred to keep Baker at a more cap-friendly number, but it was Keller’s emergence as a rookie that made any release possible. Keller became a Brett Favre favorite and finished with 48 receptions while Baker has averaged 21 catches over his seven-year career.

The 24-year-old Keller says Baker proved to be a good mentor.

“When you go from a college tight end to an NFL tight end, of course guys are a lot faster. He helped me with my spacing on routes and sometimes my footwork, which I learned from Bubba [Franks] also,” Keller said. “ He played with Kellen [Clemens] and Chad [Pennington], so when I first got here he told me what they normally do.”

Baker (6’3”, 258) was a solid run blocker and his contributions could be missed in that department. Keller, a bit smaller at 6’2”, 245, is on a mission to prove he can be more than just an adequate blocker.

“I definitely want to prove people wrong. It’s something I like — I like people to say I can’t do something,” he said. “At every single level, I’ve competed, so I’m going to continue to do that.”

The Jets have a new head coach in Rex Ryan, but offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer has returned and TE coach Mike Devlin is also back for another season. So Keller won’t have to learn a new system and he has already established a relationship with his position coach.

“I became more comfortable with the offense as the year progressed,” Keller said. “I worked on blocking with Coach Devlin on hand placement and footwork and things should get better from here on out.”

Keller, who is always a matchup problem because of his speed, says he’s trying to get up to 250 to “become more of a full-time guy.” Since Laveranues Coles also left via the free agency route, Keller’s first -year catch total ranks second among the Jets’ returning pass catchers. He figures to be counted on even more in his sophomore season and has begun getting reps in with the Jets’ quarterbacks.

“Kellen and Ratty are both looking really good out there right now," he says. "We throw twice a week and both of them have been putting the ball where it needs to be, so we have a nice little competition.”


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Posted in Eric Allen | 55 Comments »


55 Responses to “Keller’s Take on Bake, Blocking and His QBs”

  1. By bob on Apr 10, 2009 | Reply

    ratty is gonna b the guy. I could c huge plays to clowney and keller…

  2. By Ira on Apr 10, 2009 | Reply

    EA, I think Keller will be a star. He should be able to catch 60-65 passes this year. I didn’t want to lose Baker and you’re right they will miss his blocking for sure. They will either draft a TE who is a strong blocker or p/u somebody off waivers or both.

  3. By Vincent on Apr 10, 2009 | Reply

    If Keller can bulk up a bit, but not too much where he slows down, and he keeps catching the tough ones he could be the next Gonzalez.

  4. By Hogan on Apr 10, 2009 | Reply

    I hear Britt being said to go early 20’s. I want this kid.

  5. By MIKE on Apr 10, 2009 | Reply

    I know its premature but does anybody think that Ainge has any shot at being the starter. He had a nice college career. Is alot like Chad Pennington but with more arm strength. I hope since Rex is starting fresh with this team, that he will disregard KC few games played and give each QB an egual shot. I think Ainge can surprise us all. This isn’t Clemens team even though he thinks it is.

  6. By Ira on Apr 10, 2009 | Reply

    Hogan, If they sign Austin and give up a 2nd rd pick for him they will not draft a WR in the 1st rd. Jackson should then be their guy.

  7. By Alan on Apr 10, 2009 | Reply

    I hope we dont draft a WR early, and hope we steal on Lous Murphey from UF kids a beast

  8. By Row on Apr 10, 2009 | Reply

    Of course Keller is going to say he’s gonna try to prove people wrong, but it’s not going to happen. Any youtube videos on him blocking in college? This Baker debacle the last 2 years has proven our GM to let personal problems affect his better judgment. Why fire a coach when you’re doing the same thing? We could have Reggie Williams and T.O. on our team going into the draft. IMAGINE THAT FANS!!!

  9. By Brett on Apr 10, 2009 | Reply

    I think were fine with Keller as long as we have Bubba Franks who’s a pretty good blocker and a veteran, which leads me to my question EA, do we still have Bubba on the roster?

  10. By Jimmer on Apr 10, 2009 | Reply

    Mike, I don’t Ainge has a shot. Being suspended probably hurt him bad. Clemens/Ratliff are neck and neck. Ratty has more insight having the year being a wr. Clemens being in the system longer. This is gonna be a sweet competition.

  11. By jetfan74 on Apr 10, 2009 | Reply

    I love how the FO is doing their “due diligence” and bringing all sorts of guys in for a look see. This team may not be flashy on offense, but as long as they win (winning is the only option) I will be more than happy!!!!!!! Whatever the end result may be, I stand behind T-Rex. I guess I’ll just keep my fingers crossed and keep wishing Santa will bring us a Lombardi trophy!

  12. By MrJetGreen on Apr 10, 2009 | Reply

    If Dustin Keller blocks effectively he has a real good chance of having a stellar career. He is already a real good receiver.

    What I really need to know………is it true that Kareem Brown is going to audition at Tight End? Perhaps this would be a better position for him.

  13. By jetfan74 on Apr 10, 2009 | Reply

    I think a complimentary TE added to this roster would be most beneficial! DK is something special and a weapon that doesn’t need to be getting banged up run blocking for 25-30 plays a game. A guy like Pettigrew who loves trench warfare and all the underneath capability in the world would be a great tandem w/ DK who can stretch the middle and command safety help! Also a BIG red zone target!!

  14. By russ on Apr 10, 2009 | Reply

    Baker was never utilized to his best he will be at NE and to our regret…

  15. By Eric Allen on Apr 10, 2009 | Reply

    MrJetGreen, it is true that the Jets will be looking at Kareem Brown at tight end.

  16. By Eric Allen on Apr 10, 2009 | Reply

    Brett, at the moment Bubba Franks remains a free agent.

  17. By sal on Apr 10, 2009 | Reply

    The Jets need a blocking TE, Brandon Pettigrew would be a perfect fit at #17. Then they can address WR later on the first day with someone like Brian Robiskie, Derrick Williams or Louis Murphy.

  18. By 35 year fan on Apr 10, 2009 | Reply

    I have a feeling its going to be “The Rat” Hope we get him some larger size targets, and one more Bigger running back.

  19. By Stunna on Apr 10, 2009 | Reply

    OK i was a fan of KC but with his recent statements im starting to doubt if he is the ryt guy 4 the job or have i been under the mangini era for too long ? bart scott talks bcoz he has proven he can play 4 a QB with his stats regardless of what the line was like that year to talk with confidence is gd but if you become too confident n bcome cocky he can follow Cutler to Chicago. Go JETS WOOOOO!!!!

  20. By Jay on Apr 10, 2009 | Reply

    Reggie Williams and T.O.???? Thats more of a threat than a benefit. Williams is a bonafide bust with 2 arrests in the last 45 days. T.O. is an aging cancer who’s numbers are declining and who catches one of the lowest percentages of balls thrown to him in the league. Ira, I love Jackson. Austin could be a nice fill. Murphy would be a nice 3rd. Go blocking TE in round 2 or rb and we’re on!!

  21. By carl on Apr 10, 2009 | Reply

    Keller kicked booty last year! But teams are gonna be lookin to stop him ! He needs to get to the next level like Tony G.!!!!!Then we got something!! Go JETS!

  22. By Mechanic Mike on Apr 10, 2009 | Reply

    Can’t wait to see Revis shut down TO this year

  23. By John on Apr 10, 2009 | Reply

    We will miss Baker and I am sure he will make us pay some next year.
    By the way…If this Jason Taylor to the Jets thing ever went down……. I swear I’ll dump this team like a bad habit !

  24. By Ray on Apr 11, 2009 | Reply

    Row we still can have Reggie Williams, and so can everyone else, yet he’s still available. What does that tell you? And sorry I am more than happy T.O. went elsewhere, I don’t care what he does this year.

  25. By Drew on Apr 11, 2009 | Reply

    Anyone know how Austin’s visit went??I would give up the 2nd for him. He is exactly what were looking for in the draft. J Jones will never let it happen though. For the record I want zero part of T Jackson. The kid’s game is average at best. He never shows flashes of dominance. Hey Ira.. I was on vacation last week but very happy to see youre back to the Radar in full force. Sorry for your loss.

  26. By Drew on Apr 11, 2009 | Reply

    I love that Rex is having K Brown practice at TE but that is a project at best. I would love to grab the kid Bear Pascoe in the later rounds. The kid is a beast blocker and has really good hands. At 6’6 260 he can easily fill the shoes of Baker and can really set the edge in the run game. I saw him play a few times and loved his game. Kind of a old school TE ….which would be great behind Keller

  27. By MIKE on Apr 11, 2009 | Reply

    Everybody is saying that the Jets D is going to only give up like 10 points a game. I think our D is better and we definately better on paper. We haven’t seen them play yet. Still think there’s a big whole at RE. Coleman is solid against the run but not against the pass. If we cannot pressure the QB than our DB’s will suffer like last year. 6 probowl DB’s can’t stop a QB with all day to throw.

  28. By Greg from Albany on Apr 11, 2009 | Reply

    Mike, I have to disagree with you on Erik Ainge. He is a lot like Chad; however, his arm strength is not better. He too struggles to throw the deep out. He’s a smart kid but I don’t want to see this offense limit itself in the passing game like they had to do with Chad. I love Chad, don’t get me wrong, but but this offense has the potential to be explosive with a stronger armed QB.

  29. By Alan on Apr 11, 2009 | Reply

    T.O doesnt stand a chance against Revis. We have all seen Revis shut down Randy Moss 2 times a year. If we dont sign Miles Austin,i do see us drafting Louis Murphy, or Hakeem Nicks, as a big target for a Slot Reciever, and having Clowney start Opposite J-Co, as the Deep-threat/ Burner. Im all for Tyson Jackson first round,

  30. By Tasdog on Apr 11, 2009 | Reply

    mark my words the jets front office is going to do something big come draft day i can feel it all these moves are for a reason i can see them moving up remember tanny’s word anything is possible

  31. By OriginalJetFan on Apr 11, 2009 | Reply

    If keller can Ft at TE, with cotchery, clowney and Stuckey you,ve got a pretty good base, if we can grab Myles Austin at 6’3″ with good speed and 21=yds a catch ratcliff and Clemens better practice tossing long balls.

  32. By Zartan on Apr 11, 2009 | Reply

    Baker is a better TE than he was used as.

  33. By Tom Spicer on Apr 12, 2009 | Reply

    Supercooljetsfan, I also wanted to tell you about the draft that 2 years ago my boy went & he got me a Bryan Thomas & D Brick autograph & last year I got Leon & Rhodes autograph & all 4 of them were free. My boy won a football throwing contest & won a autographed Harry Carson ball.

  34. By Ira on Apr 12, 2009 | Reply

    Drew, Thanks. I agree with you about Pascoe and he might be the perfect fit for the Jets. If they sign and Austin it has to be because he can step in and start right away with experience and he is only 24 ys old. And at 6’3″ could be better then any WR they could get in the 2nd rd. Clearly they are targeting Jackson. EA has Jackson been in for a visit yet?

  35. By Ira on Apr 12, 2009 | Reply

    Leftwhich has signed with the Bucs. I was hoping he would be around just in case Ratty or Kellen struggle. So unless they shock us and draft a QB in the 1st rd[ i hope not] its going to be one of those 2 guys. I am fine with that and its time to learn what they can do. Grossman and Losman are still available just in case. GO Kellen and Ratty. And Happy Holidays to all. GO JETS!!!!!

  36. By Chirag on Apr 12, 2009 | Reply

    Hi Eric, Do we have any news on Myles Austin’s status? And are we going to have camp in florham park or upstate?

  37. By docchris21 on Apr 12, 2009 | Reply

    I just dont understand why when they are going to part with a player, like chad pennington or Chris Baker, who we know still has some good play left in them, they arent traded out of the division. Trade them for nothing…a 3rd string center to an NFC team..anything just to get them out of the division

  38. By Jets Fan Since '64 Tom on Apr 12, 2009 | Reply

    Drew, the NFL website, via Newark Star-Ledger, says visit with Austin went well and Jets ready to make an offer. Greg, thanks for addressing Ainge’s arm strength, NFL clip on him said “he can make all the throws on the field” but if that’s not true, he’s not what we need. Maybe that’s what southernlady meant when she said he’s not the guy. Also nice to see Leftwich in Tampa and not with the Jets.

  39. By Eric Allen on Apr 12, 2009 | Reply

    Chirag, nothing to report on Miles Austin and nothing definite yet on training camp.

  40. By Eric Allen on Apr 12, 2009 | Reply

    Ira, I can’t tell you whether Tyson Jackson has visited or not. We’ve reported a lot of the visits last week but it is not a definitive list.

  41. By Tony B on Apr 12, 2009 | Reply

    Its silly that the jets are talking about replacing the T.E. when we had exactly what we re trying to replace.Keller is agood player but not a true T.E. So now either we ll either waste a pick early on a T.E. or sign one at an inflated price.If the guy we had was so bad then why did N.E. snap him up right away? This move will come back and bite us.And trust me he will be used correctly in N.E.

  42. By wayne on Apr 12, 2009 | Reply

    If Austin was the answer, why is Dallas willing to watch him walk for a #2?.PLEASE!!! It wasn’t long ago when Baker was considered a weak blocker.Keller can develop into an effective blocker if he wants it bad enough.If he falls somewhere between Shannon share and Gonzalez the Jets haven’t done too bad.I think he has that kind of receiving talent.Blocking TEs are much easier to find.

  43. By Anonymous on Apr 12, 2009 | Reply

    i can’t wait t see the jets this season last year with farve was a waste

  44. By Ira on Apr 13, 2009 | Reply

    Another thing to keep a close eye on is the TJ watch. I really think the Jets will draft a RB this year at some point. My question to everybody is if the Jets are picking at #17 will they take best available player no matter what position that might be or a pick for need?

  45. By Tom Spicer "I Bleed Green" on Apr 13, 2009 | Reply

    Everyone keeps talking about Tyson Jackson DE (LSU) if the Jets take a DE in the 1st round they should take Jarron Gilbert DE from San Diego State this guy is a stud you tube him. Jackson is just a run stopper Gilbert can rush the passer & stop the run this is the guy.

  46. By Drew on Apr 13, 2009 | Reply

    I am not against drafting a RB with the 17. I actually am rooting for it. Even with TJ can we expect more years from him after 2009? We went through this with C-Mart who is a much better back than TJ is. RB is a need in the 1st 3 rounds

  47. By Todd on Apr 13, 2009 | Reply

    Randy,TE can be got later, Trade down get a pick, use the first on a WR (Britt). With the extra pick get Ron Brace (you might have to trade up to get him), Jenkins needs a breather more than once and a while. Maybe trade Pouha to
    Cleveland for a 4th rounder, this way you have the ammo to go get Brace.

  48. By Tom Spicer "I Bleed Green" on Apr 13, 2009 | Reply

    If the Jets take a RB at 17 the pick should be Moreno NOT Wells. Wells gets hurt alot & I think Moreno will be a better pro than Wells. Moreno is a local kid & a good person no question marks, no posse just a good person.

  49. By Tom Spicer "I Bleed Green" on Apr 13, 2009 | Reply

    If the Jets take a WR with the 17th pick they need to take Nicks or Britt no Hayward-Bey & no Harvin. Nicks & Britt are football players Bey is a track guy he is soft he does not go over the middle. Nicks & Britt go over the middle play bigger than there size & have great hands. Harvin is a spread guy who has never run pro routes he gets nicked up alot & is small. Take Nicks/Britt NO Bey/Harvin

  50. By Ira on Apr 13, 2009 | Reply

    Drew, I really don’t believe in drafting RB’s in the 1st rd. Perfect example was Curtis being drafted in the 3rd rd. I think Jennings would be a perfect complement to Leon and TJ. I wouldn’t mind Brown either but he won’t be there in the 2nd or 3rd rd. With Rex wanting to be a run first team [my guess is 35 carries a game combined] they have to draft a RB at some point during the draft.

  51. By Ira on Apr 13, 2009 | Reply

    Tom, Reports are that the Ravens are heading out to workout Nicks and they are taking Flacco with them to throw passes to him. They must be real serious about Nicks if they are taking Flacco with them.

  52. By Hogan on Apr 13, 2009 | Reply

    I like the moch has us taking Britt!

  53. By skibba on Apr 13, 2009 | Reply

    Brady Quinn to Jets for a 1st rounder – what are they thinking ? 2nd round ok but his value hasnt risen in my eyes, since being drafted.

  54. By MIKE on Apr 13, 2009 | Reply

    Agree with Ira, however we shouldn’t compare C-Martin to anybody. He is the best RB we’ll ever have, and one the best of all-time and the reason why I follow the Jets. Can’t wait to see him in the hall of fame. I think a RB in round 2 is a good idea, but I really like Knowshon Moreno, he is a downhill runner and finishes runs like a pro. If Jackson is gone than grab Moreno, we’ll be fine at TE+WR.

  55. By Sal #1 on Apr 15, 2009 | Reply

    Well another tight end not filling the shoes of Mickey Shuler, Mitchell, Brady were other potentialy great tight end, that didnt live up to full potential. I wish keller better luck, and hope he can block

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