The New York Jets are a team that we all know is far from perfect and needs plenty of upgrades, but one thing we’ve seen in recent weeks is that while rookie quarterback Sam Darnold is looking more comfortable inside and outside the pocket, there are a few pass catchers who are showing that they could pay big-time dividends for the Jets moving forward.
Wide receiver Robby Anderson, tight end Chris Herndon and running back Elijah McGuire have all seen a significant uptick in production as their reps and targets have increased.
In the case of Anderson, he was getting plenty of reps in Jeremy Bates’ offense, but the problem was that his targets were far lower than they should have been. When Anderson was targeted, it was often on go routes that sent him streaking down the sideline and requiring good deep ball accuracy from an inexperienced rookie.
Over the course of his past three games, Anderson has been targeted on just one go route, while hauling in an additional nineteen balls on a variety of routes at different depths and the results have been outstanding. In all, Anderson has 20 receptions for 312 yards and three touchdowns over the past three weeks.
He's no longer "just a deep threat."
— Austin Gayle (@PFF_AustinGayle) December 26, 2018
Then there’s Herndon, the rookie tight end out of Miami who has 38 receptions for 484 yards and 4 touchdowns, all better than the departed Austin Seferian-Jenkins, whose departure was lamented by a surprisingly large number of fans.
The eye-popping acrobatic catches being made by Herndon during training camp have now begun to show up on Sundays and Darnold has been a huge beneficiary. Since Darnold’s return, Herndon has 10 receptions for 149 yards and a touchdown. A tight end who can pick average around 15 yards per catch can do great things for a young quarterback.
With Isaiah Crowell dinged up, McGuire has gotten more opportunities to produce not only in the running game where he has found the end zone in three consecutive games, but as a receiver where he’s hauled in nine receptions for 112 yards and a touchdown.
In total, Anderson, Herndon and McGuire have combined for 573 yards and eight touchdowns (5 receiving, 3 rushing) since Darnold made his return just a few weeks ago.
More help is needed on offense, but if the past few weeks are anything to go on, it appears there’s more in place than previously thought.
Now if Quincy Enunwa could just stay healthy…