Chris Herndon is a man searching for answers right now.
The Jets’ third-year tight end entered this season with big expectations. Instead, he has been plagued by drops and had a critical fumble. He has 13 catches for 98 yards and has not scored a touchdown yet.
“You think you’re locked in and whatnot, and you watch film and see the simple mistakes that you made,” Herndon said. “A lot of it is just self-inflicted. So, for me, personally, I need to lock in some more on details. You know, every detail and every assignment, just go out there and play free.”
Herndon has not been able to do that yet. The Jets started Ryan Griffin over Herndon last week, but Herndon still played a lot (42 percent of the snaps) against the Cardinals. He had another bad drop, something that keeps happening.
“Look the ball in first, tuck it and get north after that,” Herndon said of the potential touchdown against Arizona. “It’s just another instance of where I need to focus in and try not to make the big play before I make the play. First, I’ve got to catch the ball.”
Head coach Adam Gase had a long sit-down with Herndon this week, trying to ease his mind and rebuild his confidence.
“We’ve had a lot of discussions with him about playing it one play at a time, and whatever happens on the previous play — whether it’s good or bad — just move on to the next one,” Gase said. “We just keep trying to get him in the mode of playing as fast as he possibly can play. Not overthinking, not worrying about what the end result’s going to be.
“Just play fast, run fast and do what you’ve done and what we’ve seen him do in the past.”
Herndon had a strong training camp after missing all but one game last season because of injuries and a suspension. That raised expectations he would have a monster year. Gase is not ready to give up on him yet.
“I feel like this is really one of those things where, if he just gets that one play where he gets going,” Gase said, “that could be a good snowball effect for him.”
The Jets activated LB Blake Cashman and WR Vyncint Smith off injured reserve. They also elevated QB Mike White from the practice squad to serve as Joe Flacco’s backup. They released S Marqui Christian to clear a roster spot.