Can the real Chris Herndon please stand up? Because the Jets desperately need him to right now.
The Jets wide receiving corps is absolutely decimated. Jamison Crowder (hamstring) and Breshad Perriman (ankle) are doubtful to play this Sunday against the Colts, and Chris Hogan (rib) is limited at practice. And those are their current first stringers. Rookie Denzel Mims is on the IR and has yet to take a snap in his NFL career.
So what does that mean for Sam Darnold and the Jets this week? Herndon needs to step up and be the tight end the Jets hoped he'd be.
The Miami product, who the Jets drafted in the fourth round back in 2018, showed flashes of a dynamic, pass-catching tight end that can make a difference in the middle of the field during his rookie season. Darnold and Herndon found a connection, and 39 receptions for 502 yards and four touchdowns was something the Jets believed they would build on.
But Herndon's sophomore season was one game total after a PED suspension led to missing the first four games of the season, and then an injury sidelined him for the rest of the way. Now back on the field after battling the injury, Herndon hasn't been anything to write home about.
Over the first two games, he's had seven catches on 11 targets for just 42 yards. With injuries galore, the Jets are going to need much more production than that from the 24-year-old.
And if that happens, it would give the Jets a fighting chance on offense, especially with Le'Veon Bell even on the IR with his own injury. The run game duties have been left to Frank Gore and rookie La'Mical Perine.
But this isn't just a weekly burst of good play. The Jets will likely need Herndon throughout the season, as injuries have become so common with this team.
More importantly, though, the Jets want Herndon to succeed because they believe he is more than capable to do more on the field. His rookie year was a foundation to what was supposed to come. There has been a setback, but now is the time to prove it with Darnold likely to look his way numerous times against the Colts this week.