After each game, we've been highlighting three defensive and three offensive players and looking in detail at their performance. We'll begin today with the offense:
Has Chris Hern'd a corner?
After a terrible start to the season which saw Chris Herndon fumble twice and drop four passes in the first 10 games, he finally seems to have got things going and finished the season with his most productive game of the year.
Herndon ended up with seven catches on nine targets, including a leaping 21-yard touchdown pass in the first half. Other than that, his other six catches all came on short passes as he had 45 yards after the catch, more than twice the amount of his previous season high.
It was an aggressive performance from Herndon, who seemed to make the most of each play by driving forwards at the end of the run:
The production Herndon generated on these short passes makes you wonder why they didn't throw a few of these to him each game and what a difference that could have made to his and Sam Darnold's numbers. Sure, perhaps you lost some confidence in him after he had those drops and fumbles but freezing him out entirely was hardly going to restore that confidence - or his own - and Herndon didn't receive a single target in five out of the next seven games after week five.
If we take Herndon's production over the last three games and multiply it by five to approximate a full-season extrapolation, he'd have elite numbers: 70 catches, 725 yards and 10 touchdowns. Couple that with his improved blocking this season and you've got a potential core piece, even though a month or so ago most of us would have been happy to dump him.
At the very least, Herndon has ensured he should be back for the final year of his rookie contract.
That's all she Roten
Greg Van Roten had an interesting season. He made a slow start, highlighted by the 49ers game where he had a key series of blown blocks at a pivotal moment, helping turn a close game into a blowout. However, he then settled down and played well in the middle part of the season. At the end of the year he got banged up and went onto injured reserve. However, he was back for the final game.
His final performance of the season was not one of his best, although he was probably slightly better than Josh Andrews who had replaced him while he was out.
In the running game, Van Roten had mixed results. He blocked his man to the ground on one pulling block, drove his man off the line once and did well on two short yardage conversions, including on Josh Adams' touchdown. However, he let his man get off his block to make a play on four occasions and had one bad whiff at the point of attack to lead to a run stuff.
In pass protection, Van Roten gave up three pressures, including a sack, as he lost Deatrich Wise on this swim move, leading to a big hit on Sam Darnold:
Clearly Van Roten can be pretty reliable as part of a settled unit, although he's been inconsistent when there have been changes happening all around him. Still, he only gave up three sacks and didn't have a penalty all year, so while you'd ideally like to upgrade from him, he's probably worth retaining as a rotational depth player.
Ty your mother down
Ty Johnson put together a nice first half with 53 yards on eight touches but, in a move typical of this season's coaching staff, they buried him in the second half as he got just five carries for 15 yards with a long of four.
That was especially galling given how Johnson's last touch of the first half was one of his better plays, with this open field move to set up a touchdown:
All in all, Johnson ended up with 11 carries for 47 yards and two catches for 23 yards. He accounted for six first downs, of which five were in the first half.
Pass protection is one area where Johnson needs extra work if he's going to expand his role next season. He stayed in four times and gave up one pressure on Sunday.
In all, though, Johnson averaged an impressive 4.7 yards per carry and quietly caught 16 passes in limited action to lead all Jets backs in yards per route run. He's definitely earned himself a longer look next year and the good news is that the Jets have him under contract for cheap for two more years.
We'll be back with the 3-on-D tomorrow...