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Chris Herndon fighting for Jets starting spot after awful 2020 season

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A year ago, Chris Herndon was viewed as one of the Jets’ best playmakers. Now, he may not even be a starter.

Herndon had an awful 2020 season after a strong training camp that raised expectations. So far during this year’s camp, Herndon feels like an afterthought. He is sharing first-team reps with Tyler Kroft and Ryan Griffin, but the optimism that surrounded Herndon entering the last two seasons is gone.

Jets head coach Robert Saleh said the fourth-year player needs to find some consistency.

“Initially, obviously, for him just be consistent and try to find ways to get better every day,” Saleh said. “It really is. I’m not going to put any expectations with regards to result. But for him, he’s had moments where he’s looked very good in his career. He’s had moments where he’s kind of disappeared and he’s had injuries. But at the same time, let him get into a rhythm. Let’s get some consistency going and just play with the effort, the technique and the violence that we look for. If he can do that day in and day out, we think Herndon can have a pretty darn good year.”

Chris Herndon
Chris Herndon
Bill Kostroun/New York Post

Herndon raised expectations in 2018 with a strong rookie season. A suspension and injuries led to him playing in just one game in 2019. Last year, he had 31 catches for 287 yards and three touchdowns, but also had four drops and two fumbles. It appeared Herndon lost confidence after some early adversity, but he said that wasn’t the case.

“Those types of years, they humble you,” Herndon said Monday. “They remind you no matter how hard things get for you or the team to just keep your head down and keep working and never give up on yourself, never lose confidence.”

Herndon is learning his third offense in four years, which could be contributing to his struggles. He had a good practice Monday, catching two touchdown passes during a 7-on-7 red zone period. It is now or never for Herndon, who will be a free agent after this season.

“There’s never any reason to be complacent,” Herndon said. “I feel like going on my fourth year I’m not necessarily where I want to be, just being hard on myself. But I know I’m going on the right path, just consistently working and just finding ways to get better.”



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