The New York Jets have a budding star in second-year tight end Chris Herndon, but will obstacles keep him from reaching his lofty potential?
Heading into the 2019 season, the New York Jets have many reasons to be excited, especially when it comes to their young talent on both sides of the ball.
One such promising player is tight end Chris Herndon, who showed flashes of brilliance as a rookie, and was primed for a standout sophomore campaign.
But various challenges could stand in the way of Herndon’s development in his second NFL season. For starters, he’ll miss the first four games of the regular season due to suspension. Furthermore, he’s facing the challenge of learning a new, complex playbook under new head coach Adam Gase, one that requires much from the team’s tight ends.
Gase has been impressed by Herndon’s work ethic so far, but knows it’s unwise to overload his young tight end with too much, too quickly (via team contributor Randy Lange):
I think it’s really how far can we take him in the first year of this offense and transitioning him from last year.
I think he’s done a good job of working hard. He came in, he’s in good shape, he’s absorbing the playbook as fast as he possibly can. We’re not trying to overload him too much because at that position, you could play multiple positions. It’s a lot of verbiage, calls, all of those things. They’ve got to do a lot, so we’re trying to make sure we’re doing right by him and make sure that he has this wired down.
As a rookie in 2018, Herndon appeared in all 16 games for the Jets, making 12 starts. He finished the year with solid numbers, hauling in 39 passes for 502 yards and four touchdowns.
Though his suspension will make it even more difficult for him to make an significant impact in the early going of the 2019 season, Herndon’s presence could be huge for the Jets down the stretch. If they’re somehow in the playoff hunt as the second half of the regular season begins, Herndon could end up getting comfortable at just the right time to help the Jets make a push for the postseason.