Tyler Kroft’s latest injury puts the New York Jets tight end group in a tough situation
On Tuesday, New York Jets tight end Tyler Kroft was placed on injured reserve with a lung laceration. Just a week earlier, tight end Daniel Brown was traded to the Kansas City Chiefs for guard Laurent Duvernay-Tardif.
Heading into the season, the Jets rostered four tight ends: Tyler Kroft, Ryan Griffin, Daniel Brown and Trevon Wesco (whose role is primarily fullback). Undrafted free agent Kenny Yeboah holds a spot on the practice squad as well.
It’s safe to say that the position represented a weak point of the depth chart heading into the season.
Today, it’s in dire straits.
General manager Joe Douglas did little to upgrade at the position over the offseason, something a lot of fans were quick to notate. Arguably, the position worsened when the Jets traded potential TE1 Chris Herndon in late August.
Some could argue the front office and coaching staff were too confident in the oft-injured Kroft, a man who dressed in just 26 games over the previous three seasons in Buffalo and Cincinnati (48 potential games in total). Through six games, Kroft has caught 10 passes and 104 yards along with a touchdown in the win over Cincinnati.
Although he’s missed just two of the Jets’ six games this season, he hasn’t played as well as many had hoped.
Behind him on the depth chart is 31-year old Ryan Griffin, who, through eight games, has a similar stat line to Kroft. Griffin, unlike Kroft, leaves a lot to be desired when run blocking.
With Kroft set to miss at least the next three weeks and Brown in Kansas City, Griffin and fullback-hybrid Trevon Wesco are the only tight ends on the active roster.
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There is a good chance Yeboah is elevated from the practice squad until Kroft returns, which could be the only thing that saves the positional group the rest of the season. Yeboah dressed for Week 5’s contest against the Atlanta Falcons but didn’t play a single offensive snap.
Even if Yeboah is elevated or the Jets make any moves at the position, you can still expect the offense to all but ditch 12 personnel (one running, two tight ends and two wide receivers). Even with Kroft on the field, it seemed counterproductive, so putting Griffin and Wesco out there consistently would only highlight the weakness at the position.
Expect to see a lot of Ryan Griffin in this Sunday’s contest against Josh Allen and the Buffalo Bills.
Perhaps it’s even Kenny Yeboah time as well.
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