Stephen Hill continues to impress. First, he confirmed he signed his rookie contract on Thursday, the day that the Jets’ rookie class reported to get their physicals, get photographed and get prepared for today’s start of minicamp.
Stephen, you seem to be the kind of guy who likes to get business taken care of and get out on the field.
“Yes, sir, definitely,” he replied.
And sure enough, No. 84 was the first player who jogged out onto the practice field, past the Victory Tree, at the Atlantic Health Jets Training Center, all alone in the May drizzle but joined minutes later by the rest of the 57 or so draft picks, undrafted free agents, tryout candidates and first-year invited players for the first workout of minicamp.
“Yeah, I like to be the first one out there and get my body prepared for the hard work,” he said.
Hill’s hard work for the day looked solid. On the comeback and slant route drills, Hill caught the hot passes often delivered by WRs coach Sanjay Lal and took off upfield. On a 7-on-7 drill, rookie G.J. Kinne’s pass deflected off of two defenders — and Hill was there to snap the ball up for the offense right before it hit the ground.
The 6’4″, 215-pound second-rounder from Georgia Tech appeared to drop one low ball, and he couldn’t quite catch up to a deep sideline pass. But otherwise he looked at home — especially as he worked through some of the pro routes that many seem concerned to see him master after he spent three seasons in Tech’s triple-option offense.
“Yeah, I can run all the routes,” Hill said. “You take a little time before you actually master them. Repetition is definitely what it is.”
He admitted to “drooling a little” when he got into his playbook and saw the routes that might free him up for, oh, about 50 receptions as a pro, or one more than he had in his three college seasons combined. How did he bide his time waiting for his one or two balls a game for the Yellow Jackets? His answer provided a greenprint for any player who ever thinks about being impatient or depressed with his career path.
“Basically, I’m a winner,” Hill said. “Anytime you win, it’s the biggest thing. If Coach called my number, I’d be there for him.”
As Hill spoke with reporters, it was hard not to notice the one short blade of grass still sticking to his left cheek. Nice touch for a hard-working wideout.
First-round DE Quinton Coples on how he fits into the Jets’ defensive scheme so far: “I feel like I fit in great.” … When tryout WR Kris Byrd from Virginia made a one-handed grab below his knees of a pass thrown by Lal during slant drills, Lal responded: “Nice catch. Way to overcome coaching.”
Robert T. Griffin, like all the draft choices, had a number of footballs to autograph on Thursday night. He was signing “Robert Griffin” when about halfway through he said, “This is a little tiring,” and shifted to signing the balls “RGII,” which was his nickname as part of the offense that protected RGIII, Robert Griffin III, at Baylor. “I was called different things — ‘Big Grif,’ ‘RGII,’ Robert. It was all good,” Griffin said. “I’m just out to make a name for myself. That’s what life’s all about.”
Rex Ryan is expected to address reporters at 3 p.m. ET today. … The assembled players will have a walkthrough late this afternoon. Then they’ll repeat today’s schedule Saturday at the Atlantic Health complex.
Tags: Quinton Coples, Rex Ryan, Robert T. Griffin, Sanjay Lal, Stephen Hill
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