Although he’s doing everything in his power to change that narrative in 2021.
He was one of 49 NFL tight ends that were invited to participate in the inaugural “TEU” this offseason.
Tight End University is a brand new program that was created by a pair of All-Pro tight ends in George Kittle and Travis Kelce. The three-day event was designed to bring together some of the best TEs on the planet to hone their craft and share their top trade secrets with one another.
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There’s Something Missing From the Puzzle
The event was hosted in Nashville and on top of receiving instruction from two of the game’s premier tight ends, they also got some bonus tutoring from former star Greg Olsen.
The idea for this was spawned by the other positional camps hosted by a variety of NFL stars during the offseason. For example, we’ve seen Von Miller work with other pass rushers at his summit.
While this TEU camp allows some of the top tight ends in the game to get even better, it’s the other guys that stand to gain the most.
Herndon’s talent is obvious.
He possesses prototypical size (6-foot-4, 254 pounds), oozes athleticism, and has displayed a knack for making highlight-reel catches the norm.
Yet despite all those physical gifts, something hasn’t quite clicked for Herndon at the NFL level.
2021 is his last chance to prove he belongs. The former Miami product is entering the last year of his rookie contract. One way or another this will be an audition. That’ll either lead to a potential contract extension to keep him in Gang Green or he’ll end up on a different NFL team next offseason.
The Best Part of TEU
Turron Davenport, Tennessee Titans ESPN reporter, was at TEU and documented the entire event (you can check out his full column here).
The most interesting thing from his report was the format of this camp.
At first, all the players would go into the dark depths of the film room to watch tape. Some of the more experienced players would explain how they get off the line of scrimmage. They would then walk each of the players through step-by-step on what they see in terms of coverages and how to properly attack it.
As soon as the reel stopped spinning, the players immediately went to the gridiron to put their homework to the test.
This type of teaching method seems to check every box:
- Film study (breaking down coverages, subtleties in route combinations, and how to create separation).
- On-field workouts (the mental to the physical, learning techniques then putting it all together, and repetition).
After each of the hard days of practice, the players would then ease the mood later in the night with team bonding activities.
This brings us back to Herndon. All of the tools are there physically, but what this camp will hopefully provide is a mental re-calibration. Last year he seemed to get in his own head and overthought things.
Herndon tried to force it and unfortunately it resulted in the worst year of his young career. There were simply too many mental lapses where he fumbled and dropped routine ordinary catches.
The former Miami product fell into a dark place with the mounting pressure from the fans, coaches, and himself.
This offseason has been a major reset button. The ineffective coaching staff has been removed, Herndon has refocused on ball, and now he’s ready to finally unlock his full potential.
With Mike LaFleur leading the charge as the Jets offensive coordinator, the Herndon hive is dreaming of a Kittle explosion in 2021.
In San Francisco, the All-Pro tight end is the focal point of the offense. While in New York, the Jets have practically ignored the tight end position altogether over the last few years.
Everyone has talked about the upgrades to the trenches for Gang Green or the sexy new toys at wide receiver this offseason. Although ironically enough one of the leftovers in the fridge from 2020 may end up becoming Zach Wilson’s top security blanket next season.