Eleven months ago today, the Jets scored 48 points in a win vs. Buffalo. Mark Sanchez threw three touchdowns, two of which went to rookie receiver Stephen Hill. The sun shined at MetLife Stadium, and fantasy-football players made notes to put in a waiver claim for Hill.
Well, Hill would catch just one touchdown thereafter, and he missed five games with hamstring and knee injuries. As for the Jets’ offense . . . well, we’re not rehashing it.
The Jets begin the preseason Friday night at Detroit, and the performances of Sanchez and primary competitor Geno Smith will be closely scrutinized. Less attention will be paid to Hill, but he’s worth keeping an eye on; Rich Cimini of ESPNNewYork.com reports that the second-year wideout has improved his technique. It’s especially intriguing new considering that the 6-foot-4, 215-pound Hill has ideal size and speed for the position.
“With his God-given gifts, he can do things other guys can’t,” Jets wide receivers coach Sanjay Lal said of Hill to ESPNNewYork.com. “He’s finally starting to use his suddenness and his burst within a route. It’s clicked to him the last couple of weeks that, ‘Hey, if I do this, look what happens to the DB.’ ”
Just 22, Hill could have an exciting future if he can stay healthy and continue to develop as a receiver. Moreover, he’s young enough where 2013 shouldn’t be viewed as a make-or-break year for him. The Jets can afford to be patient for a couple seasons. It’s a healthy sign that he’s apparently making some progress this summer.