'Smart Player' Ryan Griffin Emerging as a Big Part of the Jets Offense

Kristian Dyer

Ryan Griffin has been a real surprise for the New York Jets this year, the free agent tight end stepping up as an emerging part of the offense. 

This past Sunday, Griffin was one of the stars in the Jets 34-17 win at Washington. With five catches and 109 yards as well as a second quarter touchdown, Griffin had a real breakout performance. He’s become a reliable downfield target, building on the past few weeks where he has grown as a favorite target of quarterback Sam Darnold. 

Three weeks ago, Griffin had two touchdowns in the Jets loss at the Jacksonville Jaguars. He followed that up in Week 9 with six catches for 50 yards in a loss at the Miami Dolphins, before being held to just a single catch for -2 yards last week when the Jets beat the New York Giants. 

Then he bounced back this Sunday with his big game at FedEx Field. 

“He's come in right away and he's worked, if not, just as hard as anyone. He's worked harder than anyone in the building,” Darnold said.  

“He's such a hard worker and he puts the time in to learning the playbook and learning the game plan for the week. He's a total vet with everything he does on and off the field and guys recognize that. So, he's a really good leader from that standpoint, so it's easy for me to trust him. Right when he came in, I could tell those qualities right away and it's starting to flash here on the field.” 

Griffin has put together a solid year for the Jets with 25 catches for 269 yards and what is already a career-high four touchdowns. 

He is projected to finish the year with 40 receptions for 430 receiving yards and six touchdowns. Those reception numbers as well as receiving yards would be the second-highest of his seven-year career. 

Jets head coach Adam Gase called his tight end “a smart player” and said that he is more than just a pass-catching tight end. 

“I think really what’s surprised me more than anything with him was how good of a blocker he was both in the run game and in pass protection,” Gase said.  

“I guess I was thinking more that the passing game aspect of it was more his specialty than the other two things and I think his entire game, to me, the fact that he’s a complete tight end is something that has really helped us a lot. Any time a tight end, especially the way we were using him, especially the last month or so, where we’re moving him around, trying to give him a bunch of stuff and just kind of it worked out yesterday where the ball was going in his direction. I mean a lot of times we’ve run a lot of those same plays and somebody else has gotten the ball and I think he just does a good job of doing the right thing at the right time, a lot of the time.” 

Griffin was a signing of general manager Joe Douglas, who was hired after the team finished the NFL Draft and much of free agency. He is on a one-year, $1.125 million contract.

Certainly a fantastic signing for the Jets.