You ask, we answer. The Post is fielding questions from readers about New York’s biggest pro sports teams and getting our beat writers to answer them in a series of regularly published mailbags. In today’s installment: the Jets. Do you think Chris Herndon will have eight or more touchdowns and will he be the No. …
You ask, we answer. The Post is fielding questions from readers about New York’s biggest pro sports teams and getting our beat writers to answer them in a series of regularly published mailbags. In today’s installment: the Jets.
Do you think Chris Herndon will have eight or more touchdowns and will he be the No. 1 tight end? — Michael Sanders
The two parts of this question are very different to me. Yes, I do think Herndon will be the No. 1 tight end, and I think he will have a major impact on the offense. However, eight touchdowns is a lot. The only tight end in Jets history with eight touchdown catches is Rich Caster in 1972, and that was before my time so I would have to rely on a few of the older fans to tell me if Caster did that as a true tight end or as a receiver. Only Mark Andrews (10) of the Ravens and Jared Cook (9) of the Saints had that many last year, and they were part of two of the best offenses in the sport.
Just because I don’t see Herndon hauling in eight touchdowns, though, does not mean I think he won’t be effective. I think a healthy Herndon will be huge for Sam Darnold and Adam Gase. We saw what Herndon was capable of as a rookie. It was a huge blow to only have him for one game last year. Don’t discount how much he can help the running game with his blocking either.
Can the Jets afford to sign (Jadeveon) Clowney, and if so, how does (Gregg) Williams adjust his system to use him? — Neal Jennison
The Jets can afford him. It is a question of what they see as his value. They have about $15 million in salary-cap space with $11 million more coming next month when Trumaine Johnson comes off the books. Draft picks will account for about $9 million of that, but there is still room.
I just don’t see the Jets committing big money to Clowney. It is not how GM Joe Douglas has done business this offseason. There are also health questions, which is tough this offseason with the rules restricting team doctors from doing physicals. If they did sign him, I don’t think Williams would have any problem figuring out how to use him.
Now that Frank Gore has signed on, do you see Gase deploying a two-back set perhaps splitting out either Bell or Gore in motion, or even splitting both to open some passing lanes? — Jim Coley
I am very curious to see what changes Gase makes to the running game this year. I’m not sure a two-back set will be the way he goes, but I do think he will try to get Bell more involved in the passing game, and that will include splitting him out. I don’t think Gore will have a big role in the passing game. He had just 12 catches under Gase in 2018 and had 13 last year with Buffalo.
The key to me to opening the passing lanes is going to be the speed on the outside with Breshad Perriman and Denzel Mims. If those two can scare defenses with the threat of taking the top off, then there should be openings in the middle of the field for Bell, Herndon, Jamison Crowder and Ryan Griffin to do some damage.
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Denzel Mims dropped 24 passes over 3 seasons at Baylor, 11 (coming) in his junior year as he played through a broken hand. He cut that to 5 his senior year on 66 receptions and 12 TDs. Did the rest of the league miss an opportunity earlier in the draft and does Mims project as potentially a steal for the Jets? — Paul Lawrence
I do think he could be a steal, Paul. “Could be” is the key part of that sentence. I’m not going to predict it. But Mims has great physical tools, and if they can refine his game, he could be a really good receiver. From asking around, I don’t think NFL teams were as scared about his hands as they were about him coming from the Baylor system and not having experience running a full route tree. One other thing I heard led to his drop: Teams wondered why his college coach Matt Rhule did not take him in the second round with the No. 38 pick. There was a question of what Rhule may have known. I think this is silly. The Panthers clearly wanted to upgrade their defense. I don’t see it as a slight against Mims.
Will the Jets sign a veteran tackle like Donald Penn before the season starts? — Murph Dawg
I think the Jets are done at tackle. I expect Mekhi Becton and George Fant to be the starters with Cameron Clark and Chuma Edoga as the backups.