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Michael Irvin and Cris Carter assess Stephen Hill


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NY Jets' Stephen Hill may be running out of time to fulfill potential

MANISH MEHTA

Today, 12:05 AM

ROBERT SABO/NEW YORK DAILY NEWS

Stephen HIll has plenty of promise coming out of Georgia Tech, but hasn't live up to his potential. Will this be the year he breaks out? Or will he end up a bust?

Stephen Hill has become the Jets’ Rorschach test, confounding just about everyone who stares at him.

Some see promise. Others see bust.

Hill should have seized the No. 2 outside receiver job by now, making it a no-brainer decision for Rex Ryan and offensive coordinator Marty Mornhinweg. He has the pedigree and incentive, but has been ineffective in the Jets’ first two preseason games. Some wonder whether this will be as good as it gets for the young receiver.

Hall of Famers Cris Carter and Michael Irvin look at the same guy through radically different lenses, a microcosm of the nearly three-year debate on the former second-rounder. Two of the greatest players to play the position spoke with the Daily News about the present and the future of the enigmatic Hill.

“It’s a ‘right-now’ football league,” Carter said. “He’s a fast player that doesn’t play fast. So how long will that take to develop?”

Hill’s cavernous learning curve coming from a run-based system at Georgia Tech coupled with ailing knees that landed him on injured reserve each of his first two seasons have made him an easy target for critics. By any objective measure, Hill hasn’t produced sufficient results in the ultimate bottom-line industry.

Wide receivers coach Sanjay Lal told The News this offseason that it’s premature to label Hill as a bust, but time is running short for a player who has been erratic in training camp and the first two preseason games.

Hill needed to remove any doubt early on that he deserves to start opposite of Eric Decker this season. So far, he’s come up small.

Hill has one reception for 17 yards on 37 pass routes in the preseason, according to Pro Football Focus. He’s been targeted only twice (plus one that was negated due to a defensive penalty) despite playing 70 snaps in the first two preseason games, a ridiculous reality that raises the obvious question: Is Hill simply not getting open?

Irvin points the finger at Hill’s environment.

“I see raw ability and raw talent,” Irvin said. “But in order to bring the best of that raw ability, you got to have some things around him so he can learn and really understand it. He needs people that will teach him how to work and teach him how to play the game. . . . I can’t kill Stephen Hill. I can kill what has poured into Stephen Hill.”

“You don’t have a stable quarterback situation, so how can you have a stable offensive system?” Irvin added. “How can he gain confidence in what he’s doing if there is no confidence in what the quarterback’s doing? We’re asking this kid, ‘Hey, show up and be big even though all the mechanisms that get you the ball to give you the opportunity are less than big.’ It’s kind of a tall order.”

It’s a fair critique — Mark Sanchez had his worst season as a pro in Hill’s rookie season and Geno Smith endured growing pains last year — but Hill hasn’t exactly elevated his game in less-than-ideal circumstances since the Jets traded up to draft him with the 43rd pick of the 2012 draft, two slots ahead of budding Bears star Alshon Jeffery.

“I’m not comfortable with a guy who runs really fast but isn’t comfortable with the ball in his hands,” said Carter, who is an ESPN analyst. “He’s not really good after the catch and he’s not great at catching the ball. So, for me, it’s kind of hard to figure out how he’s going to create his niche. Because that’s what you have to do.”

Hill will surely benefit from Decker’s presence after being around locker room cancer Santonio Holmes for the past two years. “Decker is a hard worker... He wants to be great,” Irvin said. “The kid needs to see that in people.”

Hill’s knees haven’t been an issue this offseason, but Irvin cited technical flaws in the 6-4, 215-pound receiver’s elongated strides. Mornhinweg and Lal have emphasized the finer points of route running such as shortening stride length on various patterns to maximize the efficiency and fluidity of cuts, but it hasn’t necessarily clicked for their pupil.

“Speed is the derivative of stride length and stride frequency,” said Irvin, who is an NFL Network analyst. “If you cut down on stride length, you can have more ground contact. You build up stride frequency by taking shorter steps, so you can make more (precise) cuts.”

Receivers have typically made significant jumps from their second to third seasons, but Hill hasn’t given any indication that he’s going to break out in 2014.

It was almost shocking to see him get flagged for an unnecessary roughness penalty against the Bengals Saturday night, a welcomed sign of life from a player who usually blends into the background.

The competition for the outside receiver gig opposite Decker remains open entering the Snoopy Bowl against the Giants on Friday. David Nelson is the clear leader in the clubhouse, but Hill, who has only 45 career receptions for 594 yards and four touchdowns, still has a chance to grab it before the Sept. 7 opener.

The Jets’ lack of firepower at the position likely means that Hill will be on the regular-season roster, but Carter isn’t so sure beyond that.

“Read the tea leaves, buddy,” Carter said.

“How many years did Tim Tebow last in the NFL? What’s the league average? We keep saying everybody’s a project. You give them about three years, and if they don’t show you, then they got to go.”

Hill is dangerously close to blowing an opportunity of a lifetime.

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Irvin points the finger at Hill’s environment.

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Hill’s environment.

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environment.

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64350282-5E43-4C34-9206-D00CFC0B8CFD.jpg
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As with Sanchez. not sure how RYan really impacts a player who may never put it all together. Rex Ryan is not making Hill drop passes. May be the ground and pound nonsense doens't help and since they pass so infrequently it magnifies the mistakes. But the guy cannot hang onto the ball no matter what.

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He then goes on to elaborate and say the Jets have had terrible QB play.  Irvin was a coke head who played in one of the worst "environments" in the league, but having Aikman put it on the numbers every time he dropped back seemed to help him overcome said environment.

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Where all the guys who claimed that the notion that Stephen Hill gets cut is absurd, now?

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give him one more year.   he gets a break because the rookies fizzled.  if saunders and evans were pressing, he might get cut, but they are not

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He then goes on to elaborate and say the Jets have had terrible QB play. Irvin was a coke head who played in one of the worst "environments" in the league, but having Aikman put it on the numbers every time he dropped back seemed to help him overcome said environment.

It's my contention that there's been a disconnect in the player development under Rex. There is simply no way that every young non-DL player who is brought in here can be struggle so much and lack confidence the way all of these kids seem to. Hill may have sucked anywhere, and probably would have. But he's just another in the line of draft picks brought in under Rex who never figured it out, particularly on the offensive side of the ball. Whatever they're doing at Florham Park isn't conducive to getting much out of these kids unless they're playing defensive line. You see teams all over the league that produce low-round draft picks and UDFAs that become major contributors, and we can't get 2nd round picks who can keep a roster spot. Something is broken, and it's more than just the scouting.

Edited by T0mShane
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Lal's comment, to me, means he also thinks Hill sucks and only an unexpected awakening, that Lal hasn't yet seen either, will keep Hill from being a bust. Lal may not be God's gift to WR coaches, but his reply was hardly a ringing endorsement. In his 3rd training camp it's "premature" to call him a bust yet?

Yikes.

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It's my contention that there's been a disconnect in the player development under Rex. There is simply no way that every young non-DL player who is brought in here can be struggle so much and lack confidence the way all of these kids seem to. Hill may have sucked anywhere, and probably would have. But he's just another in the line of draft picks brought in under Rex who never figured it out, particularly on the offensive side of the ball. Whatever they're doing at Florham Park isn't conducive to getting much out of these kids unless they're playing defensive line. You see teams all over the league that produce low-round draft picks and UDFAs that become major contributors, and we can't get 2nd round picks who can keep a roster spot. Something is broken, and it's more than just the scouting.

Or it could be that Hill sucks. Kerley was brought in here just like Hill - actually NOT just like Hill since he was a 5th round pick - and he's a damp solid receiver.

But you knew that.

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Or it could be that Hill sucks. Kerley was brought in here just like Hill - actually NOT just like Hill since he was a 5th round pick - and he's a damp solid receiver.

But you knew that.

Kerley is exactly what he was in college.

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Kerley is exactly what he was in college.

 

So this response tells us all we need to know about  how objective you're willing to be in discussing the Jets, Rex, and player development.  When a player doesn't develop, it's their fault.  When a player does develop, they were just that good already.  This is the same argument we hear from people who hate Idzik.  The good moves were so super easy and obvious that he should get no credit for them.  The ones that don't work out are 100% on him and he gets all the blame regardless of circumstances that lead to the outcome.

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So this response tells us all we need to know about how objective you're willing to be in discussing the Jets, Rex, and player development. When a player doesn't develop, it's their fault. When a player does develop, they were just that good already. This is the same argument we hear from people who hate Idzik. The good moves were so super easy and obvious that he should get no credit for them. The ones that don't work out are 100% on him and he gets all the blame regardless of circumstances that lead to the outcome.

Regardless if Rex raised Kerley from infancy and trained him in a lab to become the slot receiver he is today, that's the one success story in six years.

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So Rex doesn't bother with offense, didn't want Hill, but its his fault Hill sucks.  Got it.

 

Tom needs to take a vacation something fierce.

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Fair to point out the offense really is treated like the red headed stepchild at Florham Park.Not sure it helps players, but with some like Hill or Sanchez, the 2nd comings of Bill Walsh and Don Coryell wouldn't make a difference either. A 3 TD 300 yard passing game or a receiver going 8 rec. for 145 yards would not elicit nearly the ecstasy that holding a team to 80 yards rushing does.That's who RYan is, and we all know it. But Woody Johnson could've ended that in January and he didn't because he's a cheap f___.

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Regardless if Rex raised Kerley from infancy and trained him in a lab to become the slot receiver he is today, that's the one success story in six years.

 

So wait, you're telling me you do NOT like Rex Ryan? 

Edited by Jetsfan80
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As with Sanchez. not sure how RYan really impacts a player who may never put it all together. Rex Ryan is not making Hill drop passes. May be the ground and pound nonsense doens't help and since they pass so infrequently it magnifies the mistakes. But the guy cannot hang onto the ball no matter what.

 

Even this guy, a notorious Rex hater, disagrees with Tom's premise here. 

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Kerley is exactly what he was in college.

Just all draft picks are what they were in college. What a dumb comment.

Kerley is a short receiver with barely 4.6 speed. Those guys are rarely what they were in college.

It kills you to suggest he was coached up because he was coach-able up. Like Edwards, who lost his dropsies thing - which he was famous for - only after being a Jet. Holmes was just fine...until he got $20M in guaranteed money. He may be fine again now that he's back on a show-me deal again.

Hill may not be able to be coached, and while acknowledging this, still you place the blame at the head coach. Then you complain about other teams having late round WR picks, but not the Jets, despite knowing that is a patently false statement.

Pathetic.

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So this response tells us all we need to know about  how objective you're willing to be in discussing the Jets, Rex, and player development.  When a player doesn't develop, it's their fault.  When a player does develop, they were just that good already.  This is the same argument we hear from people who hate Idzik.  The good moves were so super easy and obvious that he should get no credit for them.  The ones that don't work out are 100% on him and he gets all the blame regardless of circumstances that lead to the outcome.

 

Nah, Rex ruined Hill.  It's very clear.  Michael Irvin said it.

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So this response tells us all we need to know about  how objective you're willing to be in discussing the Jets, Rex, and player development.  When a player doesn't develop, it's their fault.  When a player does develop, they were just that good already.  This is the same argument we hear from people who hate Idzik.  The good moves were so super easy and obvious that he should get no credit for them.  The ones that don't work out are 100% on him and he gets all the blame regardless of circumstances that lead to the outcome.

B-I-N-G-O

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Can someone just ban this troll?  He makes this board miserable.

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Regardless if Rex raised Kerley from infancy and trained him in a lab to become the slot receiver he is today, that's the one success story in six years.

 

His greatest success is turning you into a lunatic.  Well, more of one than you already were.

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Can someone just ban this troll?  He makes this board miserable.

Which one?

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