Jets’ Stephen Hill confident 2013 will be breakout season

Stephen Hill had two touchdowns and 89 yards in his first career game, but it was downhill after that. Credit: Getty Images
Stephen Hill had two touchdowns and 89 yards in his first career game, but it was downhill after that.
Credit: Getty Images

After an underwhelming rookie season, wide receiver Stephen Hill returns to the Jets this training camp with a newfound confidence. But it remains to be seen if it will show on the field.

Last year, Hill came to the Jets as a second-round pick with tremendous measurables and plenty of upside. He was tall and powerfully built with a long stride and big hands. But he was raw, and having played in an option offense at Georgia Tech, his opportunities to catch the ball were few and far between. Understandably, his route running was subpar and Hill endured a mediocre rookie season beset by injuries.

Hill played 11 games as he battled a chronic hamstring injury and had just 21 catches. He was targeted 47 times.

“I’m definitely better than last year but I definitely have a lot more to clean up and a lot more experience to go through,” Hill said. “Other than that, I’m taking it day by day. [I am] making sure that everything I’m working on, I don’t worry about the next play, I just worry about that one play.”

His strength last year was always his downfield blocking, not surprising since he did plenty of that in college. But the rest of his game needed desperately to be refined. Then there were all the dropped passes.

The Jets need a target wide receiver for the future and while they recently signed Braylon Edwards, it is Hill who should be the player to catch the deep ball or be a strong target on third down. He’s gone so far as to say that even when Santonio Holmes returns from his Lisfranc injury, he wants to be the team’s No. 1 wide receiver.

For a player with 21 career receptions, that is bold talk. For the first time in his young career, however, he seems to be backing it up.

On Saturday in the Green and White scrimmage, Hill muscled off a challenge from cornerback Ellis Lankster for a long touchdown catch from Mark Sanchez. It was the kind of play Hill might not have made last year.

“That’s just competition. Basically, Ellis got in my way and so we both were fighting for the ball,” Hill said. “If I pushed off, there wasn’t a flag on the play, so it was a touchdown. So I was just happy for that.”

Last year, Hill was often shown up by much shorter cornerbacks and safeties who frequently made plays over a wide receiver who towered over nearly every defensive player on the field. One noticeable change during training camp is that he is getting up much better and attacking the ball.

“I noticed even in OTAs [organized team activities] I was letting balls come down to me,” Hill said. “Coach always said go up and get the ball. You’re big — 6-foot-4, 6-foot-5 — go up and attack it like you’re playing basketball.”

“It’s just making sure I pinpoint the ball at the right time and making sure that I make the correct jump. Not jump too early, not jump too late.”

Follow Jets beat writer Kristian Dyer on Twitter @KristianRDyer for updates from training camp.



News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
News

Rock legend Neil Young files for divorce after…

The legendary Canadian rocker Neil Young has filed for divorce from his wife of 36 years.

Local

FDNY debuts new fire simulator for blazes at…

The New York City Fire Department christened its newest, state-of-the-art, custom-built simulator at its training academy on Randall's Island Tuesday.

Local

Bronx cop saves baby who stopped breathing

A Bronx police officer is credited with saving the life of a 2-month-old baby who stopped breathing Tuesday morning. Police Officer Johnny Castillo, 38, was…

Local

Brewer celebrates Women's Equality Day with voter pledge

Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer celebrated Women’s Equality Day Tuesday by pledging to register at least five women voters before the Oct. 10 deadline. Brewer…

Movies

Review: The uneven 'Life of Crime' mostly gets…

Elmore Leonard's "The Switch" becomes the new indie crime dramedy "Life of Crime," with Jennifer Aniston as a kidnapped woman whose husband won't pay up.

Movies

Review: Pierce Brosnan gets a cut-rate Bond knockoff…

Pierce Brosnan tries to reclaim his glory days with the spy thriller "The November Man" but instead gets a sad DTV-style ripoff with lame action.

Music

Tiesto headlines Made in America

Electronic music legend Tiesto is ready to get in touch with his inner Rocky at the Jay Z-curated Budweiser Made in America festival this weekend…

Gossip

Ariana Grande addresses Big Sean dating rumors

Now that Ariana Grande and Big Sean were caught on camera holding hands, she has something to say.

College

When are 2014 college football playoffs? (Schedule, date,…

When and where are 2014 college football playoffs? A look at the schedule, date, TV, time for the semi-finals at championship game.

NFL

Dimitri Patterson suspended only for rest of preseason…

Dimitri Patterson ended up getting just a slap on the wrist.

Sports

Eugenie Bouchard excited for 'rowdy' fans at US…

Eugenie Bouchard is sure to endear herself to New York's tennis faithful as she tries to win her first grand slam title across the next two weeks.

MLB

MLB Power Rankings: Angels and A's still at…

MLB Power Rankings: Angels and A's still at top, Nationals climb

Parenting

Lure your baby to sleep with Maroon 5…

These new renditions of "Moves Like Jagger" and "Payphone" are Maroon 5 like you've never heard them before.

Wellbeing

Who is having the most orgasms?

  Single lesbians report having orgasms more often than heterosexual women but both gay and straight men still come out on top of the climax…

Home

Jonathan Adler shares his tips for a great…

Jonathan Adler took a break from boogie boarding at his beach house to tell us how to keep that Labor Day party festive.

Travel

Most popular Labor Day weekend destinations

Priceline.com released its Top 20 destinations for the end of summer, including Labor Day weekend. If you’re heading to any of these spots, expect a…