The New York Jets Aren't Using Their Tight Ends This Year

The New York Jets are barely utilizing their tight ends, a strength of the team last year.
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Given that both New York Jets tight ends Chris Herndon and Ryan Griffin came into this season healthy, the Jets coaching staff went into the 2020 season with two solid tight end targets. As the season nears the halfway point, however, both tight ends have barely made an impact.

It was an assumption that Herndon, a standout as a rookie in 2018, and Griffin’s strong season a year ago would lead to a greater impact for the tight ends in the offense.

The two players have combined for just 18 catches for 125 yards this season.

“Not really surprised,” Griffin told reporters Wednesday after practice. “I guess just the way that the games have gone this year. Targets have been down but we've been helping in other ways. Our job is to help the team win. So whatever the coaches ask of us, that's what we're going to do.”

The lack of inclusion of the tight ends is puzzling. The offense as a whole has struggled this year and the lack of inclusion – and production – from the tight ends is a reason why.

“I feel like I’ve been used fairly,” Herndon said Wednesday. “At the end of the day, it’s a team thing. I can’t sit after every game and be upset and mad and try to point fingers. This time last year, I wasn’t even on the field. At this point, I’m honestly just thankful to be out there and still give myself a chance to still compete right now.”

Adding to the mystery is the fact that the Jets have had several wide receiver injuries andhead coach Adam Gase pointed out earlier this week that it is a major reason for quarterback Sam Darnold’s regression. The tight ends have been healthy, adding to the quandary.

“I really thought those guys, like their numbers, would be a lot better than what they are,” Gase said at his virtual press conference Wednesday. “It’s hard to pinpoint right now exactly the reason. I feel like, especially early in the season, we went into games and Chris was our focal point on what we were trying to do. Tried to call his number, but whether it was dictated by coverage or something went wrong, it didn’t work out to where we never got him going.”