Chris Herndon either couldn’t catch the ball or he nearly fumbled it. No wonder his role in the Jets’ offense has diminished as much as a night out at the movies during the COVID-19 pandemic.
A lost year hit yet another low for the third-year tight end, for whom the Jets had such high hopes in the summer. He dropped a pass, nearly fumbled after one of his two receptions and saw his role continue to shrink in the ugly 30-10 loss to the Cardinals at MetLife Stadium.
“I felt like we had a lot of good stuff to Chris and there were going to be some good opportunities there,” coach Adam Gase said. “Whether the ball didn’t go to him or we didn’t finish the play … there were some opportunities there.”
Late in the second quarter, Herndon made a rare catch, a 15-yard play in which he lost control of the ball on his way down and the Cardinals recovered. He was ruled down by contact, though it seemed as if the call could’ve gone either way. In the third quarter, on a play-action pass, Herndon was wide open in the flat and Joe Flacco delivered the ball on time. But Herndon dropped it, looking upfield before he gathered the ball in and costing the Jets a big play. They did, however, score their lone touchdown on the drive.
He wasn’t heard from again and now has a grand total of 13 receptions for 98 yards in five games. More and more, the player who flashed immense potential as a rookie — he caught 39 passes for 502 yards and four touchdowns — seems to have vanished. He was suspended for the first four games of 2019 for violating the NFL’s policy and program on substances of abuse. He missed the following four with a hamstring injury. In his lone game last season, he suffered a fractured rib. This season there have been no injury or off-the-field issues. That’s at least one positive.
“We just have to keep working with him and figure out what is going on to where we can get him rolling,” Gase said.
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