The Rundown: All eyes on the Hill

Brian Bassett, TheJetsBlog.com

A lot of attention is being paid to Stephen Hill over the past few days.  As one of the most physically gifted specimens on the Jets, the hope has always been whether he can put it together.

stephen-hillIs this going to be another hopeful offseason that doesn’t return the promise or more than that?  Marty Mornhinweg was asked about Hill’s summer so far, via the AP:

“Outstanding. Some of the receivers make this big jump between their second and third year, and it looks like Stephen is doing that.”

Apparently, on Friday, Hill was on fire according to the Daily News, but that we never know what’s lurking around the bend:

On days such as Friday, when Hill beat cornerback Dee Milliner twice for scores, you wonder if he can do it again. On days when he disappears, you wonder how that’s even possible.

Hill knows the questions that have dogged him during his first two years with the Jets and all he can do is work harder, according to the New York Post:

Hill sparkled on two big catches during team sessions. Both came on deep balls thrown by Smith. Hill knows he has questions to answer.

“Every day I feel like it’s my last day. That’s how I play,” he said. “Nothing is guaranteed in this league. You have to come out here every day and [work hard].”

One of the biggest setbacks for Hill’s hard work has been his knees, which have ended him on the injured reserve twice during his first two seasons.

“We all noticed it,” Rex Ryan said of Hill’s injury-plagued 2013 season. “We tried to throw six balls to him and he couldn’t escape anybody. He could go (in a) straight line. That was it. He couldn’t cut. Right now, he’s healthy. So hopefully that’s all behind him.”

It was noticeable in 2013 that Geno Smith was hesitant to get the ball to Hill on occasion.  There were times when Hill seemed open and Geno didn’t spot him at all.  There were other times when Geno did throw the ball, it would arrive late or put Hill in some otherwise tough spot to catch the pass.  It was hard to tell whether it was Geno’s inexperience or lack of chemistry with Hill, but now it sounds as if part of that stems from Hill’s health.

There was talk earlier in the offseason that Stephen Hill might have a hard time making this roster, but that always seemed far-fetched.  Unless Hill was injured again or had some truly grievous problems so far in camp, there’s no way that the Jets would give up on a former second rounder who was drafted and was understood to be a developmental prospect from the outset.

It’s good to hear Marty Mornhinweg say that he’s seen great progress from Stephen and if he can finally become a more productive part of this offense it will only help the entire unit.  The better he can play, the harder it will be for teams to double Eric Decker or any passing target.

We’ll just have to see if it finally consistently translates on the field.




125 comments
Alec Wilson
Alec Wilson

Thing is if that's right he has grown an inch in the last year no wonder he has been having injury issues as that will cause major problems playing any sport at a high level let alone NFL.

rstysanchz
rstysanchz

i hope this is the year it all clicks for stepehen hill...if he improves and makes the team we will have 6 wr's or te's that are 6'3" and over and should help in the redzone this year

kniff
kniff

I'm rooting for Hill to silence the neigh sayers this preseason and beyond, but as Brendan said the last time this subject was debated a couple of months ago:


"It's time for Hill to ship or get off the pot!"


Right on.

Tyler Ferraro
Tyler Ferraro

how can i listen or watch the scrimmage tonight. also any reason the live twitter feed stopped working?


Paul Samuels
Paul Samuels

If Hill can stay healthy, he can become a nice little "niche" player for the team. Kind of like what Kyle Wilson has become. 

gbrownn
gbrownn

"But if we’re going to use numbers to describe Hill’s performance, let’s use ALL of them.


Hill also posted the LOWEST 20 yard shuttle time of any receiver who participated, as well as the only receiver to have a SLOWER 20 yard shuttle time than forty yard dash time. He also had the 5th slowest 60 yard shuttle, that likely only being saved due to his straight line speed. So what does that mean? It means that his change of direction and explosion his quick, short areas is lackluster and likely a major deterant for a player at a position where stop-start, change of direction, and keeping balance through cuts is crucial." 


http://optimumscouting.com/scouts-notes/articles-scouts-notes/scouts-notes-buyer-beware-on-combine-qwinnerq-stephen-hill-of-georgia-tech.html

I really don't get why people would think it's absolutely insane the Jets cut Stephen Hill this offseason. Hill was not drafted by the current regime. The guy that did that is no longer here.Rex said himself that he didn't get the pick at the time it was made. "Well, nothing told me he would (contribute),'' Ryan said. "Nothing. When I saw the tape (of his collegiate play) I was concerned." Westy said he "walked out of the room when Hill was drafted"

People keep ignoring the film and the results when it comes to Hill. That 20 yard shuttle is insane. No wonder they just had him running clear outs. The guy can’t turn! The #1 reason fan give to keep Hill is his "upside" and his draft position. I think it's so overstated. What's really the upside in a 6'5 body catcher who can only run one route and is not very durable? You really think all it takes is a "summer of doing squats" to erase all his knee issues? He brings no special teams value at all. I could go on and on but my point is if he has not developed and if he doesn't make some plays this preseason we should cut ties. We can't cut a guy like Salas, whose shown he can contribute, to hold a roster spot for Hill just on the hope he "develops" because of his 40 time and his height. Why isn't every tall fast guy in the NFL playing WR if that's all it takes?  This season and going forward it should be all about dependability at the WR position, and dependable is something that Hill shown he certainly is not. He has these 4 preseason games to show he's not the same player he is when we drafted him.

rexryguy
rexryguy

who really cares if he is a #2 WR or not. Lets not label him and give him the same treatment decker gets. He's a big physical WR who can block and has room to grow. If after this year he still can not produce than he should not be in the NFL and will get cut. We have nelson who is a similar type of player (less physically gifted), so worse comes to worse we keep hill as a good blocking WR and a good deep threat. I am not a Hill fan but to me he would be more effective doing that than another WR like greg salas, gates, or hakim. any thoughts

MarshRandy
MarshRandy

We'll be cooking on O if Hill finally steps up. Obvious statement but stated nonetheless yo 

Hanknaples
Hanknaples

Hill's injuries have not been the problem. He has successfully rehabbed from those two surgeries. The problem is the quarterback who has constantly tried to use him but has failed to give him the ball. Geno Smith has been hesitant because he doesn't understand how to play the quarterback position in the nfl. Don't try to spin it the other way that it is Hill's conditioning or his toughness that has prevented any kind of chemistry between Smith and him and that his injuries have slowed the tempo of the offense down. Hill is a good receiver, the jets need a better quarterback.


BRING BACK MCELROY!!!



Interested Jet

Bent
Bent moderator

@Tyler Ferraro


Yes there is a reason the twitter feed stopped working.


Unfortunately we have yet to determine what that reason is...but we'll keep trying.

jdb4
jdb4

@Paul Samuels 

Disagree, Hill can become more than that.  His ceiling was always higher than Wilson's

elmoron
elmoron

@gbrownn 

Bassett and gbrownn, great article and a great post.  Fully agree. 

bklyndude
bklyndude

@gbrownn

We can't cut a guy like Salas, whose shown he can contribute, to hold a roster spot for Hill just on the hope he "develops" because of his 40 time and his height.

Does your opinion change if Stephen Hill has a very good training camp or has your mind already been made up ?


The things you mentioned are reasons not to draft Hill.  But he has already been drafted and now needs to be given enough time to determine if he can harness all of the physical abilities and play at a high level in favor of a guy like Salas who can contribute but only at an average level.

Hanknaples
Hanknaples

@gbrownn 

The fact that Hill has come from another regime may have influence in cutting him but at the same time it actually adds to the chemistry he has built with the coaches and the players. Because of his height he is not a shifty receiver and never blow you away with three cone drills (short area quickness). He was drafted for his height and vertical speed but also he can win the position fight with the defensive back to get the ball. You can't make a mule out of a thoroughbred no matter how hard you try.

  Interested Jet  

tsjc68
tsjc68

@gbrownn

For the record, I think most of the commenters here don't think it's "absolutely insane" but just that "if he has a solid offseason and looks healthy going into camp, he has a great chance of making the roster" and that appears to have happened.


I don't think we really thought there was NO EARTHLY WAY he'd get cut this year, just that he had a valid pathway onto the roster if he cleared certain benchmarks which it appears like he's clearing.

BDarc23
BDarc23

What an awesome comment. Such brilliant analysis. Do you really not have anything better to do than see what kind if rise you can get out of people you've never met and never will?

levi
levi

@Hanknaples He could only run in a straight line last season from the injured knee and has ended both seasons on IR. But yeah, thats not a problem.


McElroy is right where he belongs, sitting in an office in a suit and tie.


tsjc68
tsjc68

@Hanknaples

Wrong as usual.


Hill's injuries have been the heart of the problem.

gbrownn
gbrownn

@bklyndude @gbrownn My opinion will change when Hill can display the ability to catch the ball with his hands consistently, develop some sort of route tree, finish a season, and just not disappear for weeks at a time. But he has to make some plays this preseason to warrant keeping a roster spot this year.

tsjc68
tsjc68

@bklyndude @gbrownn

Greg Salas is a useful WR#4, which is pretty much the literal definition of "the kind of guy you DO cut to hold a roster spot for Hill on the hopes that he develops".


Greg Salas can contribute to an NFL passing offense, which is why he keeps finding work on NFL rosters, and Greg Salas is also likely never going to be anything special, which is why he keeps FAILING to keep work on NFL rosters.  


I'm glad that we have him, because he helped us out last year when we needed competence and depth.  I'm confident that there will be another Greg Salas out there on the open market at midseason if we have a rash of injuries, because there's a lot of Greg Salases.

Hanknaples
Hanknaples

gbrownn

Hill gets good separation and can cut in field to make some catches. Look at the patriots game in foxborogh in 2012. He was able to pull in a few catches that were not just on vertical outs. 

Interested Jet 

gbrownn
gbrownn

@tsjc68 @gbrownn Yeah but we've heard he's beem clearing these benchmarks pretty much every training camp cince he's been drafted. What bothers me is that we really can't see how he's progressed in practice. We just have the word of the coaches(who probably wouldn't throw a player under the bus publicly) and these beat writers( who half of them think rex still runs a straigjt up 3-4) I gotta see it in these preseason games coming up. Hes got to make some plays.

tsjc68
tsjc68

@BDarc23

I mean, Greg McElroy?  That's just weak, hamfisted trolling.

Hanknaples
Hanknaples

@levi 

Hello Levi. But did fatboy say that once Hill was hurt and played through the injury as a result of the quarterback not using him correctly or did he say that in the beginning of the season. See Hill was fine to begin with it was just Sanchez and Geno Smith that did not know how to give him the ball.


  Interested Jet

tsjc68
tsjc68

@levi @Hanknaples

I'd love to see the 53-man roster that Interested Jet would put together if put in charge of a team.  Not even Damon Harrison can cover for the awfulness of Greg McElroy and Vernon Gholston. 


I think they might lose 17 games in a sixteen-game season.

tsjc68
tsjc68

@Dr. Jonathan Reefer @tsjc68

It's baffling to me, since the public appetite for football is "insanely high".


I'm sure that they could throw a broadcast on ESPN 8: The Ocho and pull in a decent profit.

tsjc68
tsjc68

@gbrownn @bklyndude

And, IMHO, he hasn't shown enough thus far to keep a roster spot over guys like Decker, Kerley, Nelson, or Ford, but he's shown enough to warrant keeping a roster spot over guys like Greg Salas, Clyde Gates, or Saalim Hakim.


Putting him firmly on the bubble, but leaning towards "keep".  (For at least one more year.)

gbrownn
gbrownn

@Hanknaples If i recall correctly we just ran him on a bunch of curl routes because the corners were giving him so much cushion becuase of his speed.  Not all that difficult or impressive in my eyes. Then he went on to drop the most important pass of them game. 

tsjc68
tsjc68

@gbrownn @tsjc68

What bothers me is that we really can't see how he's progressed in practice. We just have the word of the coaches(who probably wouldn't throw a player under the bus publicly) and these beat writers( who half of them think rex still runs a straigjt up 3-4) 


Welcome to life as a fan and not an insider.


I gotta see it in these preseason games coming up. 


We all do.  And while we haven't said "it's insane to think Hill will be cut", it is insane to think that Hill will be cut before being given a chance to show his progress in some preseason games.


That's all.

BDarc23
BDarc23

But why? I just don't get what enjoyment he and his father get out of it.

levi
levi

@Hanknaples  I agree he has had very poor QB play to help him and different OC's but I do not agree that his injuries havent contributed to his poor play in the first two seasons.

bklyndude
bklyndude

@tsjc68 @gbrownn @bklyndude

Without a good training camp,  and that means being healthy,  the only NFL teams that would take him off the practice squad and keep him on their 53 man roster for the season after not drafting him until the sixth round would have to be somebody ravaged with injuries or somebody late in the season and out of the playoffs and getting ready for next season. 

I would think there will be better prospects on league PS's until Enunwa does something to change opinions that already exist by NFL GM's.  It is so difficult for WR's to deveiop quickly in the NFL,  look at Stephen Hill.


Edit: thought you were talking about Enunwa.

Hanknaples
Hanknaples

@gbrownn 

  Let's look at some of Hills highlights. THis is off topic because our initial argument was Hill's numbers. We will go back to them. First take a look at the video below and pause it at 00:53. He runs in the middle of the route against buffalo in 2012. It is a crossing route with a defender trying to catch up to him in coverage. Take a look at 01:12 where he fakes to the outside of his route and then cuts in behind the defense for a touchdown. He essentially used the same play to score again. At 01:40 against the patriots he is using his hands to get the defensive back off his hold and then cuts in using his frame to shield the defender. In that patriots game Sanchez threw the ball late in the 4th quarter near Hill's armpit so it bounced off his pads. The ball should have been delivered either high up by his eyes or in his belly. Sanchez got nervous and rushed his throw hoping for Hill to bail him out.  At 02:00 against the dolphins he runs a route and just stays in the area so the quarterback and find and deliver the ball. So some of these routes are curl routes but some of these routes are timed routes where the quarterback needs to get the ball to him. This is where his chemistry is so important. At 02:27  he beats Talib on 4th and 1 in the inside. At 03:04 McElroy throws the ball in a perfect window to where Hill can only catch the ball. Hill was moving and turning back but he was always to shield the defender away. 


  Interested Jet


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z-deAYMziEA


bklyndude
bklyndude

@tsjc68 @gbrownn

"it's insane to think Hill will be cut"


National Football Post writer Greg Gabriel wrote the following on 6/23/14 in his exchange with a57se.


greg gabriel

Jun 23, 2014


@a57se  - My friends WITH the Jets tell me Hill is on the verge of getting cut.

gbrownn
gbrownn

@tsjc68 @gbrownn I never said cut him before the preseason games. You're  not one of the fans who thinks he CANT be cut. But there definitely is a lot of fans who stand by the notion hes uncuttable because of his measurables and age. Thats what I dont agree with at all.

tsjc68
tsjc68

@BDarc23

I have never understood the internet phenomenon of trolling.  It seems like such a massive, titanic waste of time, breath, energy, and emotion to go anonymously say things to try to piss other people off.

Hanknaples
Hanknaples

@levi 

 Then at least give him credit for hanging in there and don't put his hands to fire that he is on the verge of missing the cut to make the team.

    Interested Jet 

Hanknaples
Hanknaples

@gbrownn 

 I am going out but I will return to get to our argument. 

    Interested Jet

tsjc68
tsjc68

@gbrownn @tsjc68

Fair enough.  I'm not saying you said that and you're not saying I said that, then.

tsjc68
tsjc68

@Hanknaples @levi

Fonzie, all of us are giving Hill credit for hanging in there and aren't trying to cut him this year.


We're just disagreeing with your ridiculous notions that Hill's injuries haven't been a factor in his lack of sufficient progress (they have) or that his situation would have been improved had Greg McElroy had been his QB (which is just so laughably ignorant that it's not worth discussing).

levi
levi

@Hanknaples  I dont think he's getting cut this year. Im hoping he takes a big step forward and it looks promising so far. I like Nelson but would like to see Hill opposite Decker his physical traits are superior to Nelsons.

Hanknaples
Hanknaples

@gbrownn 

  Hakeem Nicks and Dez Bryant posted close to Hill's 4.48 20 yard shuttle. I don't think it stopped them from how they run their routes and both have near measurables to Hill and Hill actually did better than Nicks in the 3 cone drill. In fact I think they can cut inside and cut out of routes very easily. DeAndre Hopkins had a worse 20 yard shuttle and still played well last year despite a quarterback committee in Houston and this was as a rookie. Trindon Holliday posted an identical 20 yard shuttle as Hill and is used on punt and kick returns and has played receiver well when in the rotation. He cuts well.  How does your argument that Hill's slow 20 yard shuttle play in to  how effective he runs his routes or plays the position?


Interested Jet

BDarc23
BDarc23

@hanknaples

Don't rush back

Bent
Bent moderator

@tsjc68 @bklyndude @gbrownn Corey and Chris Nimbley on the podcast basically agreed there's NO chance Hill is cut.  This surprises me as there's plenty of competition for spots at that position.

Hanknaples
Hanknaples

@tsjc68 

You're the one who is being ridiculous. You're saying that injuries don't affect an athlete's performance. GO back and re-read my comment. I said he has successfully rehabbed from those injuries and cannot hold them as an excuse for his poor performance which in large part is caused by the quarterback (Geno Smith) and him not knowing how to give him the ball.

  Interested Jet 

levi
levi

@tsjc68 "Fonzie, all of us are giving Hill credit for hanging in there and aren't trying to cut him this year."


 Well not all of us.

Hanknaples
Hanknaples

@BDarc23 

Don't be jealous Darc...I'll speak to you too !!!

NYCPEinGermany
NYCPEinGermany

@Bent 


Honestly, I know he's a colleague and all, but Corey saying something that turns out to be utterly wrong would not surprise me at all.

tsjc68
tsjc68

@Hanknaples @tsjc68

You're saying that injuries don't affect an athlete's performance. 


That is the exact opposite of what we are saying.


I said he has successfully rehabbed from those injuries and cannot hold them as an excuse for his poor performance 


And you're wrong.  He has successfully rehabbed from those injures NOW and they absolutely are/were both an excuse for his poor performance THEN and a rationale as for why he has not progressed as rapidly as he should have.


He played through those injuries BEFORE rehabbing them and playing through those injuries compromised his play on the field (and missing practice time while hurt so badly that he could not play through injury hampered his growth and improvement).

levi
levi

@Hanknaples I agree that Geno better learn not to hang his receivers out the way he has a few times. Somebody is gonna get hurt.

Hanknaples
Hanknaples

@levi

 No Levi. And here is the problem. Any comment with my dad's avatar is taken out of context and to the extreme and the response instantly begins with the word troll. If you noticed I never bashed Hill. Never did!  But these yokles are intent on twisting and bashing everything we say. 


Just to be clear again! I want to say that the problem with Hill lies mostly in the hands of the quarterback.

Interested Jet

Hanknaples
Hanknaples

@tsjc68

See you knucklehead you're taking everything out of context and spinning it around. End of sentence. Conversation over.

  Interested Jet 

levi
levi

@Hanknaples Hank and I have a good relationship on TJB. I seem to be one of the few though but I think I understand where he comes from and I like him.


I think for the most part you and I agree about Hill with slight exceptions.

tsjc68
tsjc68

@Hanknaples

And here is the problem. Any comment with my dad's avatar is taken out of context and to the extreme and the response instantly begins with the word troll. If you noticed I never bashed Hill. Never did!  But these yokles are intent on twisting and bashing everything we say. 


Then if you don't want your words misconstrued for your fathers, grow the #$% up and get your own account and avatar.  You're both grown men, you can do that.

levi
levi

@tsjc68 Question: Of the 3 other teams Hank follows who will have the best record Tampa, Cleveland or Miami?

Hanknaples
Hanknaples

@levi 

 It is going to be a war between Miami and Cleveland. Cleveland will be the most improved team in the nfl this year.