Jets’ Chris Herndon can be game-changer for Sam Darnold, Adam Gase


Speak to anybody across the Jets for a couple of minutes about why they consider their offense might be improved this yr and it doesn’t take lengthy for them to say a 6-foot-4, 253-pound cause to consider.

The return of tight finish Chris Herndon after a misplaced 2019 is sort of like a free-agent acquisition for this offense. Herndon generally is a large issue for an offense that was among the many worst within the NFL final season. In 2018, Herndon and quarterback Sam Darnold confirmed immediate chemistry.

Then, final yr, Herndon started the yr with a four-game suspension stemming from a DUI charge the previous year. As he was getting ready to come back again, he suffered a hamstring pressure that lingered and price him one other 4 video games. Lastly, he returned in November in opposition to the Giants. He caught one cross for 7 yards and suffered a damaged rib, ending his season after simply 18 snaps.

The 24-year-old has labored his manner again and appeared nice in coaching camp. Now, he’ll take the sphere Sunday in Buffalo to finish his comeback.

“I’m anxious to get on the market, however I undoubtedly need to show to myself that I’m again and higher than I used to be after I final performed,” Herndon mentioned.

Chris Herndon
Chris HerndonCorey Sipkin
12-Minute Affiliate

The Jets will appear to be a unique group than final yr if Herndon can enhance upon his rookie yr, when he completed with 39 catches for 502 yards and 4 touchdowns. Darnold can have his safety blanket again and coach Adam Gase can have a chunk in the course of his offense to create mismatches with.

“I feel Chris is someone that actually is a game-changing kind participant as a result of he can power the protection to need to decide,” Gase mentioned. “In the event that they need to play man-to-man, all proper we’ll see how good he’s. And if we begin hooking up on throws all around the subject, then now abruptly it’s important to change the way in which you play.”

Gase as soon as known as Herndon a “unicorn.” He’s the uncommon tight finish who can do all of it. He is an efficient receiver, an excellent cross blocker and a robust run blocker. Ryan Griffin crammed in admirably for Herndon final season, however he doesn’t have the identical kind of talent set.

“If you’ve received a man like that and he can power the protection to alter what they’re doing, that’s very useful,” Gase mentioned. “And him not being right here final yr, I feel the blokes that have been enjoying did a terrific job, however Chris is exclusive. He can do a number of stuff and he could cause a number of issues for groups.”

The Payments have a really sturdy protection and an enormous a part of it’s their lineup in the course of the sphere. Linebackers Tremaine Edmunds and Matt Milano and safeties Micah Hyde and Jordan Poyer are all good gamers. The Jets want Herndon to win his matchups in opposition to them.

Simply how good Herndon might be is but to be decided. He confirmed a ton of potential as a rookie, however NFL tight ends are often solely nearly as good because the quarterback they play with and the offense they play in. Take a look at the highest tight ends within the NFL — Travis Kelce, George Kittle and Zach Ertz — and all of them play with good quarterbacks and for good coordinators.

Herndon wants Darnold and Gase to make use of him accurately as a lot as these two want him to remain on the sphere and blossom into the participant he confirmed glimpses of in 2018.

If it really works, it may be a mutually useful relationship during which Herndon could make Darnold and Gase look good and so they could make him look good.

The offense’s success simply may depend upon it.

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