NY Jets Optimistic Roster Breakdown: TE Ryan Griffin

NY Jets (Photo by Scott Taetsch/Getty Images)
NY Jets (Photo by Scott Taetsch/Getty Images) /

NY Jets’ tight end Ryan Griffin will look to build upon an impressive 2019 season in 2020.

The NY Jets knew that they were going to be without starting tight end Chris Herndon for the first four weeks of the season as he served his suspension. And as a result, they called on veteran Ryan Griffin to fill his role for the time being.

Little did the team know just how much they would rely on Griffin in 2019.

Following his suspension, Herndon would aggravate his hamstring while working out thus delaying his return. And once he finally stepped back on the gridiron in Week 10, the young tight end would suffer a broken rib in his first quarter back.

In total, Herndon played 18 snaps in 2019. Meanwhile, Griffin assumed the role as the team’s starting tight end.

The former Houston Texans tight end would finish the year with 34 catches for 320 yards and five touchdowns seemingly getting better as the year went on. By the end of the season, he had become one of the Jets’ most reliable passing targets.

Griffin didn’t light up the stat sheet, but he did an admirable job holding down the fort while Herndon was out.

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Now with Herndon set to return from injury, how could Griffin make 2020 a successful season?

How Ryan Griffin can find success with the NY Jets in 2020

The return of Herndon will certainly end Griffin’s time as the No. 1 tight end in the Jets’ offense, but don’t expect him to be a non-factor in 2020. Griffin played his way into a role this season with his strong showing last year.

And if anything, the three-year, $10.8 million extension the Jets handed him last November is proof of that.

The Jets want Griffin to be a part of the offense in one way or another. And it’s going to be up to head coach Adam Gase to make sure that actually turns out to be the case.

Gase doesn’t have the best track record of using tight ends — case in point Mike Gesicki in Miami — and now he’ll be tasked with maximizing the skill sets of two of them.

If Griffin is going to find success in 2020, Gase must find a way to use him.

But that isn’t meant to take all of the responsibility off of Griffin himself. The 30-year-old must continue to build upon the chemistry he developed with Sam Darnold down the stretch and maintain his status as a reliable receiving target.

On top of that, he must become a more effective blocker both in the pass and run game. Griffin was a liability as a blocker in 2019, something that greatly held back the success of the running game.

Herndon’s return will help matters, but if Griffin could become a more effective blocker in 2020 it will go a long way towards furthering his effectiveness on offense.

Ultimately, Ryan Griffin could still play a key role in the Jets’ offense this season even despite the return of Chris Herndon.

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But he must continue to force his way into the lineup and hope that his head coach can maximize his skill set in order to truly make 2020 a success.