Daniel Brown, Ryan Griffin, Sam Darnold
ESNY Graphic, Getty Images

Despite losing Chris Herndon, the New York Jets tight end group has been a key reason the team has won two in a row.

Geoff Magliocchetti

LANDOVER, MD—Sure, subpar competition from the depths of the NFC East has helped. But a position group rocked with one of the most impactful losses of the New York Jets’ season is flourishing with the rise of positional newcomers turned unlikely heroes.

It was a good day to be a tight end on Sunday afternoon at FedExField. On the New York side of things, Ryan Griffin set a new career-high with 109 yards and a score that broke the will of the Washington Redskins. Daniel Brown, zero catches in his ledger since December 2017, turned a blocking assignment in a 20-yard touchdown catch, one that opened the scoring floodgates.

Even the opposition got in on the fun, with Jeremy Sprinkle ending the tallies with his first touchdown grab of the year. The latter only served to marginally beautify a 34-19 loss for the host Redskins at the hands of the Jets.

New York’s 2019 season has been defined by losses, both in the standings and on the roster. The tight end room sustained one of the most impactful losses in the league with the unfortunate saga of sophomore Chris Herndon. The statistical leader among rookie tight ends in 2018 was first lost to a four-game season-opening suspension before ailments forced him to injured reserve last week.

Left behind to carry the remaining slack were career-backups Ryan Griffin and Daniel Brown, alongside fourth-round rookie Trevon Wesco. This ragtag group has gone on to become big reasons behind the Jets’ recent success.

Even Wesco, who was kept off of the receiving tally sheet in Washington, has begun to make an impact as the Jets try to turn this year around. The West Virginia alum has spent time lined up as a fullback (earning a crucial first down on a short carry against the New York Giants last week).

His blocking efforts helped the Jets earned a season 115 yards rushing in the most recent win. Wesco also recovered a fumble that prevented Washington from taking over in prime scoring territory.

“They’re so selfless with just what they’re able to do every single day in practice,” quarterback Sam Darnold said of the group. “They don’t care who makes the play, but if the play is there to make, they’ll go out and take advantage of their opportunity. They don’t get enough credit, but they showed up in a big way tonight.”

A 100-yard receiver for the first time, Griffin could only simile when talking about the progress he has made with his new teammates.

“It’s fun, especially (Wesco). He keeps it light for us, he’s quite a character, as a rookie,” Griffin said. “Dan and I just try to be role models for him. Give him credit too. He’s been working hard, and his time will come. I’m also real happy that Dan got one today and let the tight end group contribute to the offense.”

Griffin, Brown and Wesco will return to action with the rest of the Jets next Sunday at home against the Oakland Raiders (1:00 p.m. ET, CBS).

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