Jets' WR Braxton Berrios took advantage of his opportunities in the 2020 season.
After receiving 85 snaps and 6 catches on offense in the 2019 season, he had 290 snaps, started two games, had 37 receptions, 394 yards and 3 TDs (including his first career TD).
"At the end of the day, my role is to flourish wherever I'm playing," he said. "I think we saw that when Jamison [Crowder] was out. I took over in that slot position and tried to do what I could to put our team in the best position to win. When he came back, obviously that was diminished because he's the starting slot receiver. That took reps off my count, but I tried to get in where I fit in. I would do anything. I started coming out of the backfield a lot more. In Week 17, I had carries from the backfield. I tried to be kind of a Swiss Army Knife, an auxiliary plug for whatever we needed."
He finished second on the team in catches, third in yards and tied for second in TDs. A Patriots sixth-round pick in 2019 out of Miami, Berrios joined the Jets last September as a waiver claim. He immediately carved a niche as the Green & White's punt returner and his 11.4 yards per return ranked No. 2 in the NFL. Berrios didn't have the same success in the 2020 season at PR, averaging 8.6 per return. Since the start of the 2019 season, he ranks No. 7 among NFL players with a 10.7 average.
"Football is a game of opportunities," he said. "When we had the chances, we took them and sometimes we didn't. I don't think we got many returns off as we did last year, but a lot of it is circumstantial and it's all about opportunities."
Berrios had 21 returns his first season with the Jets for 240 yards and just 10 for 86 in his second. The fewer chances could be a byproduct of the team's injuries in 2020, which thrust core special teams players into starting roles, for example LB Harvey Langi. Berrios, however, doesn't see that as an excuse.
"Injuries are a part of football and we all know that," he said. "It's the next-man-up mentality. You have to be ready when your number is called whenever it is.
So, what's next for Berrios after a career year at WR? What's his offseason roadmap?
"I have everything to work on," he said. "The whole 'look yourself in the mirror and see what you have to do' is not foreign to me at all. I think there is no one harder on me than m, and I'd like to keep it that way. I truly have everything to work on as a receiver, as a football player in general. Truly I'm looking forward to doing that and coming back an all-around better player."
He added: "You have to be brutally honest with yourself of things you did well, but more importantly, things you didn't do well and things you have to improve on. The season went completely sideways to what everyone wanted it to, but at the end of the day, we stayed in the fight. We stayed in the deep end and I really think we all grew from this experience."