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Rex Ryan says Stephen Hill “needs to be a lot better”

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At last year’s Scouting Combine, few players were as impressive as Georgia Tech wide receiver Stephen Hill, who put on a show and shot up draft boards: Although the NFL draft advisory board told Hill at the end of his junior season that there was no way he’d go in the first three rounds, the Jets ended up taking him early in the second round.

A year later, Jets coach Rex Ryan says he’s still excited about Hill’s athletic talent. But he needs better production from Hill in his second season.

“It needs to be a lot better than year one because Stephen is a guy that has a lot of ability,” Ryan said at his Scouting Combine press conference. “His ceiling is really high. Like many guys as rookies, many receivers coming into this league as rookies, a lot of inconsistency. Some weeks he was outstanding, other weeks not so much, but I expect him to improve by leaps and bounds going into year two.”

Hill showed a lot of promise in his first NFL game, with five catches for 89 yards and two touchdowns in the Jets’ Week One win over the Bills. But much like the rest of the Jets’ offense, Hill never looked as good for the rest of the season. Hill finished the year with 21 catches for 252 yards and two touchdowns.

But Ryan said today that he’s still impressed by Hill — “that height, that speed” — and he mentioned another pretty good wide receiver who took a little time adjusting to the NFL.

“I’m always reminded that Jerry Rice never started as a rookie,” Ryan said. “I don’t know who was coaching him, but it does show you the greatest receiver of all time never even started as a rookie.”

It is true that 49ers coach Bill Walsh eased Rice into San Francisco’s offense in 1985, preferring to keep established veteran starters Dwight Clark and Freddie Solomon in the starting lineup and bringing Rice in as the third receiver. But it’s not true that Rice never started as a rookie (he started four games as a rookie), and even though he was ostensibly the No. 3 receiver, Rice was really the 49ers’ biggest receiving threat, and he had almost as many receiving yards as Clark and Solomon combined for in 1985.

So no one should compare Stephen Hill to Jerry Rice any time soon. Unless Hill gets a lot better. A whole lot better.

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47 Responses to “Rex Ryan says Stephen Hill “needs to be a lot better””
  1. catquick says: Feb 21, 2013 8:36 PM

    He’s not even as good as Titus Young

  2. reasonablemindsays says: Feb 21, 2013 8:36 PM

    Stephen Hill says Rex Ryan “needs to be a lot thinner”

  3. leafeaterx says: Feb 21, 2013 8:37 PM

    What’s up with all the Jerry Rice exceptions? There will only be one Jerry Rice…

  4. tommytd says: Feb 21, 2013 8:37 PM

    …and I think Rex Ryan needs to be a whole lot better. LOL

  5. bigpap says: Feb 21, 2013 8:39 PM

    Really? Jerry Rice?


    Thanks for the laugh Rex I needed that.

    this post hase been brought to you by the Free Alfonzo Dennard! Colalition for the Advancement of the Patriots Backfield because we all Know he didnt hit that Cop Organization.

  6. flutieflakes says: Feb 21, 2013 8:39 PM

    Receiver can only do what his QB and playcaller give him –> see ‘Larry Fitzgerald’.

  7. lrjets says: Feb 21, 2013 8:39 PM

    Another glaring Jets draft mistake.
    Consensus made Hill a third round pick, so of course Jets pick him early in the second.

    Money is the great equalizer amongst owners. Having more personal wealth than the next billionaire means nothing with cap restrictions.

    The Jets still manage to spend money stupidly.

  8. peopletrains says: Feb 21, 2013 8:41 PM

    Jerry Rice may not have started as a rookie but he was still quite productive. Looks like Rex’s analogies need to be a lot better also.

  9. benroethlisberger7 says: Feb 21, 2013 8:43 PM

    Rex, you’re fat. I laugh at you and your pedigree.

    Good day.

  10. themagicman1223 says: Feb 21, 2013 8:46 PM

    How can he single out only one player?

  11. bubbybrister/shovelpass says: Feb 21, 2013 8:46 PM

    Whoa! This is a riveting story! Please follow up on this!

  12. thefox61 says: Feb 21, 2013 8:47 PM

    Woody Johnson says “Rex Ryan needs to be a whole lot better”.

  13. skleech22 says: Feb 21, 2013 8:54 PM

    Rex is that kid that always blamed other people when he passed gas!! Rex you are really stinking up this place!!

  14. kev86 says: Feb 21, 2013 9:02 PM

    Jerry Rice? Some example. Amazing this moron is still a head coach.

  15. tinbender2000 says: Feb 21, 2013 9:15 PM

    You’re asking a bit much of this kid to get better when you have the same old Sanchez throwin the ball.

  16. gonzo1378 says: Feb 21, 2013 9:17 PM

    Hey Rex, I think it’s time that you got that GD snack.

  17. rcali says: Feb 21, 2013 9:23 PM

    Lame duck coach. Everybody knows it.

  18. micknangold says: Feb 21, 2013 9:25 PM

    He didn’t single out one player, he was being asked a specific question about Stephen Hill.

  19. waldoampere says: Feb 21, 2013 9:27 PM

    “that height, that speed”

    those hands of stone.

  20. bryguy39 says: Feb 21, 2013 9:30 PM

    Rex is GARBAGE!

  21. ronin262 says: Feb 21, 2013 9:31 PM

    Jerry Rice would look unimpressive with super bust Sanchez “passing” him the ball. When he’s not butt fumbling, that is.

  22. packerbackernj says: Feb 21, 2013 9:32 PM

    “Although the NFL draft advisory board told Hill at the end of his junior season that there was no way he’d go in the first three rounds, the Jets ended up taking him early in the second round.”

    That just about sums up the Jets.

  23. jwreck says: Feb 21, 2013 9:35 PM

    I feel like this is said about some Jets player every offseason. Luckily for Rex, however, Hill actually can get a lot better. New York’s quarterback situation could not be more up in the air right now (Scratch that, it could be the Cardinal’s quarterback situation), but if they can get a competent passer under center, Hill could be primed for a huge year. And subsequently a huge career

  24. kegmen7 says: Feb 21, 2013 9:40 PM

    Draft decisions like Hill, Ducasse and Gholston are why Tanny is the ex-gm.

  25. doe22us says: Feb 21, 2013 9:47 PM

    I remember guys scrambling in my fantasy league to go grab this guy.. ohh hold on that was me, anyhow he was dropped the following week.

  26. whodat67 says: Feb 21, 2013 9:53 PM

    Is this really a story? It’s really quite evident Stephen Hill “could be a lot better.” That’s like a coach missing the playoffs saying his team “could be a lot better.”

  27. despenc925 says: Feb 21, 2013 9:59 PM

    LOL did Rex Ryan say…”I don’t know who was coaching him, but it does show you the greatest receiver of all time never even started as a rookie”?! wow he didn’t know who Bill Walsh was?!

  28. bengalguy says: Feb 21, 2013 10:01 PM

    The JETS need to be alot better!

  29. nflsucker says: Feb 21, 2013 10:01 PM

    Rex said the same things about Vernon Gholston. Needed to be a lot better, never was.

    But how can a young receiver even be evaluated on the Jets right now? With Sanchez they have to try to catch passes that are thrown behind them, at their toes or sailing high like kick-offs. The guy would need arms as long as is is tall to be a star.

  30. ppdoc13 says: Feb 21, 2013 10:05 PM

    Lets not put any pressure on him or anything.

  31. spedman24 says: Feb 21, 2013 10:10 PM

    Rex is a great coach, just needs some players

  32. spedman24 says: Feb 21, 2013 10:12 PM

    Red is a great coach

  33. zeeman911 says: Feb 21, 2013 10:14 PM

    Coming from the guy with the Sanchez tattoo…

  34. INTENSE FOOTBALL says: Feb 21, 2013 10:20 PM

    1. He came from Geogia Tech where coach Paul Johnson think the word “Passing” is filthy language. So Hill and any other receiver is destined to be a little raw as a WR.

    2. When Rex or Tannenbaum made the call to draft Hill they knew it was a reach to get him in round 2.

    3. Very few rookie recievers have ever dominated in the NFL their rookie year. It take time for them to get their groove and learn the game.

    4. Hiring Tony Sparano as OC last year didn’t help one player on that offense get better either so Rex could be more the blame for Hill’s faults than Hill himself.

  35. 69finfan says: Feb 21, 2013 10:54 PM

    The whole universe says Rex needs to be a lot better!

  36. thegreatgabbert says: Feb 21, 2013 11:39 PM

    Hill was younger than most of the other rookies though. He is still 21. You have to figure he will take a bit longer than some of the others in his class. Most of them are 23 or 24.

  37. kpatrick51 says: Feb 22, 2013 12:23 AM

    Just a pack of wolves that comment on this site. And the lack of creativity amongst those who only come to bash is astounding. We get it, the Jets are a joke. But how about we actually comment on the content of this post? This kid Hill does have a lot of raw ability. But Rex is right to call him out because he flat out underachieved when he was healthy in year one and is capable of much more. Here’s to hoping he bounces back in year 2.

  38. thesmartestmanever says: Feb 22, 2013 1:36 AM

    great story Rex but unfortunately the Jets must take a back seat to the boys in big “D”. there is way too much going on down there. anything short of you naming Tebow as your offensive coordinator won’t draw much interest here.

  39. jetfanfolife says: Feb 22, 2013 6:13 AM

    The title SHOULD state,

    Rex Ryan says Mark Sanchez “needs to be a lot better”

  40. joeypickles says: Feb 22, 2013 7:02 AM

    Hello Pot, meet Kettle…

  41. whatjusthapped says: Feb 22, 2013 7:12 AM

    Really? How much better can he get with Sanchez throwing the ball at his feet?

    The Jets have a laundry list of problems and Hill isn’t even in the Top 10.

  42. pgh15212 says: Feb 22, 2013 7:12 AM

    So Hill had 16 catches for 160 yards and no tds over 15 games?


  43. bastyboy says: Feb 22, 2013 7:28 AM

    In the same way, Shonn Green need to be a better running back. Mark Sanchez need to play at an elite level.

    Is that’s how Ryan think he’s a great coach, by telling people they need to be better? If that is the case, the Jets have to hire me. I could give some great pieces of advices for their coaches.

  44. afcnorth54 says: Feb 22, 2013 7:34 AM

    I never started as a rookie either…

  45. jetsfan80 says: Feb 22, 2013 9:42 AM

    Rex, according to Randy Moss, Jerry isn’t the best of all time

  46. nathpz says: Feb 22, 2013 11:50 AM

    I can’t believe a veteran team in win-now mode drafted a receiver who was a massive project when a guy who was proven to produce against elite competition was available, and that that move somehow didn’t work out.

  47. swagger52 says: Feb 22, 2013 10:53 PM

    Can’t understand what is the problem. They have Mark Sanchize throwing to Steven Hillchize, being coached by Rex Rychize. Just kidding…They play in the AFC Least, they don’t need any franchize players to make the playoffs.

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