As a rookie with the Jets in 2018, Chris Herndon showed glimpses of being the receiving option at tight end the team was hoping for when they drafted him in the fourth round out of Miami.
But since his rookie campaign in which he grabbed 39 passes for 502 yards (12.9 YPC) and four touchdowns, things have gone downhill. After his 2019 season was all but wiped away due to a substance abuse suspension and a pair of injuries, Herndon has been back on the field for the Jets this season, but his production hasn’t been the same.
With just 13 catches for 98 yards on just 23 targets this year, it’s clearly been a down year for Herndon, but he’s focused on doing whatever it takes to help the team try to win.
“Personally, I’m continuing to just keep my head down and continuing to keep focus and just find ways to get better each and every day,” Herndon said on Wednesday, “whether it’s more film, taking more notes in the tight end or team room when we’re in meetings, lifting more, lifting extra, continuing to take care of my body. Trying to keep that edge going and just try to be as best prepared as I can be every week.
“As a team, I think we’re all still focused on one goal, and that’s going into each and every week focused and believing in ourselves, believing that we can win no matter who we’re going against.”
The Jets’ offense has sputtered as a unit this season, ranking last in the NFL with an average of just 264.4 yards of total offense and 12.1 points per game. Some of that can be attributed to a rash of injuries along the offense as well as new faces coming together on the offensive line.
But Herndon’s struggles are notable, considering he’s been healthy and is coming off of a strong training camp with the team.
But the tight end isn’t putting much stock into his diminished numbers.
“At times you think about (coming off a strong training camp), but in moments like these you can’t really focus on yourself as far as wondering why things aren’t going your way,” Herndon said. “At the end of the day, this is a team sport. It’s not all about one person. It’s about buying in and focusing on the bigger goal as one. I’m just trying to continue to do what I do, continue to practice each and every day, continue to learn, continue to grow, and control what I can.
“I feel like I’ve been used fairly. … At the end of the day, it’s a team thing. I can’t sit out there after a game and be upset and mad and try to point fingers. This time last year I wasn’t even on the field, so at this point I’m honestly just thankful to be out there and still be able to give myself a chance to compete.”
Herndon will have a chance to rebound on Sunday, when the Jets visit the Kansas City Chiefs at 1 p.m.