Brian Bassett, TheJetsBlog.comA 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.
Is 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.