The injury bug thumped the New York Jets in 2019, and while the defense was primarily affected the most, tight end, Chris Herndon also fell ill. Herndon was placed on injured reserve last season after the Jets beat their crosstown rival Giants 34-27. Herndon suffered a fractured rib and was unable to continue on the season, coming after his fall game suspension to open the year.
While Herndon caught just one pass in the game, he didn’t receive the continuity and live reps needed to reach his peak last year fully. The second your product out of Miami had a stellar rookie season in 2018, catching 39 passes for 502 yards and four touchdowns. Missing four games to open the year for violating the league’s substance-abuse policy undoubtedly hurt his efficiency and readiness upon his return.
The New York Jets managed to supplement the loss of Herndon well:
Ryan Griffin stepped in valiantly and played well, solidifying himself as a starter among the tight ends. I imagine the Jets will play a lot of 12 personnel this year to get both Herndon and Griffin involved in the passing and run game.
According to newyorkJets.com, Herndon is smoldering in his desire to bounce back from a troubled season:
“It wasn’t ideal how everything played out,” Herndon said. “I wish it could’ve gone the opposite way, but for me, it was definitely a year where I was forced to sit down and really just learn. [I] use it as a learning experience — how quick one injury, one decision, how fast things can be taken from you. Also, just learn to appreciate those things because like they say, you never know how much you miss something until it’s gone. It was a big learning year for me, but I’m ready.”
If there is anything Herndon gained from a tumultuous 2019 campaign, it was the idea of appreciation. He noted that everything can be taken away from you just as fast as it’s given, and sitting and learning could have been the best experience for him yet. Working hard and appreciating the opportunity he has to play at the NFL level is something players forget often. The money and fame come with a lot of additional issues, but staying the course and remaining committed is the key.
“I’m continuing to learn it each and every day, detail each assignment, each play,” he said. “I’ve taken a lot of mental notes as well as physical notes and studying the notes when we’re done with our virtual meetings right now. I feel like I’m still coming along. You should never feel like you know everything. Continue to learn and continue to keep an open mind. That’s when good things tend to happen.”
It is clear that Herndon took something away from this tumultuous season last year, and he is ready to hit the field running with newfound confidence and respect for the process. If Chris and Ryan griffin can establish themselves as one of the best tight end duos in the league, Sam Darnold is going to have a field day moving forward.