New York Jets Season Preview: The Return of Chris Herndon is Huge for the Offense

Kristian Dyer

If the training camp exposed the shallow depth the New York Jets wide receivers have, the return of wideouts Denzel Mims and Breshad Perriman are a welcome sight. Not to be overlooked is the return of tight end Chris Herndon, who missed all of last season and is anxious to be the target he was in 2018.

“I'm very anxious, but like I said, I'm just taking it day by day, continuing to work, stay focused and not get too high and not get too low, just kind of stay even,” Herndon told reporters in a virtual press conference on Wednesday. “I'm not trying to get out there and do too much, just do what I do and have fun.”

In 2018 as a rookie, the 24-year-old Herndon caught 39 passes for 502 yards and four touchdowns. Jets head coach Adam Gase, in his second year with the team, wasn’t there when Herndon was emerging as a target. That doesn’t stop Gase from knowing this player’s return to the field could be a key to his offensive plan.

“I like the guys that we have, I like the weapons we have,” Gase said Wednesday virtually. “I feel like everybody’s forgetting about some of these guys that we didn’t have last year. Chris Herndon was a pretty good player that first year that (he and Darnold) played together, and just getting him back alone I’m pretty fired up about.”

Last season, Herndon was suspended for the first four games for substance abuse. Then, a hamstring injury sent him to injured reserve with just one game played. Herndon watched as Darnold matured. Now, he finds himself a leader of this 2020 team.

And he is looking to make up for just a single catch for seven yards in 2020.

“I don't think he has a limit,” Herndon said. “He learned it pretty fast last year and you know, obviously the first year is a big learning year. Coming into this season, he’s more confident in the offense. He's a lot more comfortable out there. That helps him make his calls faster, make the right decision faster, and just allows him to play free. Like he usually does.”

Even with a healthy Mims and Perriman, the Jets face a tough Buffalo defense. Herndon sized up their linebackers and safeties.

“Uh, I mean, just as a tight end group, we work harder today,” Herndon said. “I know they work harder every day and we're confident in ourselves and our abilities and our talents. All we can do is go out there and showcase it each and every Sunday, not just this Sunday, but every Sunday.”

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