As a starter in Baltimore last year, Derrick Mason caught 61 passes. So now that Mason is a No. 3 receiver in New York, what kind of production are the Jets expecting of him?
Try 90 to 100 catches.
That’s what Jets head coach Rex Ryan thinks Mason will do in the Jets’ offense this season, according to ESPN’s Suzy Kolber, who interviewed Ryan before tonight’s Jets preseason opener.
“Adding Derrick Mason is huge,” Ryan said. “I don’t know if people realize how big that is.”
Mason has topped 90 catches three times, including a career-high 103 catches in 2007 — a season that Ryan saw up close as a Ravens assistant. But to think Mason could get into that range this year, at age 37, is awfully farfetched.
And it’s even more farfetched to think Mason could do it in the Jets’ offense, which is still run-first, pass-second, and which spreads the ball around so much that no one caught more than 55 balls last year. Mason probably won’t become Mark Sanchez’s favorite receiver, but even if he does, he’s not catching 90 or more passes while Santonio Holmes, Plaxico Burress, Dustin Keller, Shonn Greene and LaDainian Tomlinson are all hoping to get their share of the catches as well.
It’s not exactly breaking news to say that Ryan sometimes goes overboard when he’s talking up his team, but to predict that Mason will get close to 100 catches this season is a bit much even for Rex.