The New York Jets have turned over a new leaf and rebuilt their 2013 squad. They are younger, bigger, faster, and stronger; looking to compete against any team thrown their way. Not only has the team looked fresh as a whole, but so does the second-year wideout Stephen Hill.
After a long offseason with knee surgery and swelling causing him to miss most of spring practices, Hill is back on the field. Since getting back in action, Hill claims that he's 100 percent and glad to be back out there.
"Coach hasn't cut my reps down so everything's great, noted Hill."
That's good news to Jets fans because the 6' 4" receiver can be a huge weapon for Gang Green's offense this year.
Hill has looked sharp so far during training camp and claims to be better than last year. He's been working with his route running and has been catching the deep ball very well. His hands look a lot better and he seems to be reeling in the ball consistently. This was a problem for him last year, dropping open passes and struggling to hang onto the ball.
As well as improving his routes and his hands, Rex Ryan has been pairing Hill up against the Jets best cornerback, 2012 Pro-Bowler Antonio Cromartie. Cro is superb in man-to-man coverage and he has the speed and strength to match-up against any receiver in the NFL. With Hill taking reps against Cromartie, this will push him to work hard on every play and will only make him better. He will be ready for any corner New York's opponents will put on him.
Hill has built chemistry with rookie quarterback Geno Smith. The deep ball from Smith to Hill is looking to become a trademark for the Jets. Teams know that the rookie can throw the deep ball very well and Stephen has been hauling them in regularly. The 4.35 40-yard dash time by the second-year wide receiver, combined with his 6-foot-4 frame, can be a great asset for the Jets. This can help give Smith an advantage over Sanchez in the signal-caller competition as well. With Santonio Holmes on the sideline, still rehabbing his foot, Stephen has been picking his brain and has been seeking tips from Santonio to improve his game.
With veteran receivers on the roster, such as Holmes and Braylon Edwards, Hill has a lot of experience to gain knowledge from. This can help the rising star in becoming the elite receiver Rex Ryan saw when he drafted Hill out of Georgia Tech two years ago.
The clock is ticking, with 41 days until the Jets take on the Tampa Bay Buccaneers for their season opener. If Holmes misses Week 1 for the Jets, look to see former Jet, Darrelle Revis, matched up against Stephen Hill. This would make great use of the preseason work against Cromartie, and we will see if Hill has taken his game to the next level in becoming a more consistent receiver for the Jets this year.