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Blog

Hill Brings a Thrilling Reception to Revis Island

Posted by Randy Lange on July 27, 2012 – 3:44 pm

Updated, 10:04 p.m. ET

Stephen Hill’s first training camp visit to Revis Island went swimmingly.

Hill, the second-round WR from Georgia Tech, got past Darrelle Revis for a Mark Sanchez deep ball early in today’s first practice of training camp at SUNY Cortland. He got the full Revis treatment — tight trailing coverage, then, with the ball in the air, a sublte, timely forearm to the side. As the two started to tumble, No. 24 batted the ball away, or it so it seemed. But somehow, No. 84 latched onto the gyrating leather and cradled it as they hit the grass together for, oh, a 40-yard play.

“Basically I saw the way he was playing me and I just tried to box him out to make the catch as much as I could,” Hill said. “Oh, yeah, definitely it was exciting. That was my first play of training camp.”

And did the top corner in the game say anything to the raw but riveting rookie?

“Yeah, he said, ‘Good catch. Next time you ain’t going to get it,’ ” Hill said.

Hill may not make a circus catch over Revis again, but it seems possible he could put together a parade of catches for a rookie highlight video.

“Young, fast,” head coach Rex Ryan captured Hill in two words, then offered up a few more for emphasis. “The most impressive thing today, there was the catch over Revis even though Revis had great coverage. But on a running play, I saw a block and I saw a corner go down.”

That, too, was Hill on Revis, although the rookie admitted he gave the corner a shove on the play when Revis had already lost his balance.

“It was Revis? All right,” Rex said with a smile. “I guess with that Georgia Tech background, Hill probably played with a full-cage facemask. He’s impressive, and you know how I felt. We draft a wide receiver in the second round and we trade up to get him? Oh, you’re kidding me. … Really, he’s been impressive.”

Sanchez was in full agreement.

“It was awesome, and right out of the gate, too,” the QB said. “Reeve made a good play to tip it and Stephen stayed with it. It was another encouraging play and something fun, something all of us could rally around. It was big for Stephen. He didn’t show it much, but I know he was nervous. For a first day, for a first-timer like that, that’s big and it gives him a lot of confidence. You could tell that weight was kind of lifted off his shoulders.”

Another observer, a former Jets first-round wideout who famously wore No. 19, also liked what he saw at today’s practice.

“I think it’ll be a pretty good transition for Stephen from college to the pros,” said Keyshawn Johnson, on his first visit to Cortland as a member of the ESPN contingent. “At least we do know he’ll block because this is a running-style offense. We know the physical attributes are there for him. But it’s going to take time. For rookie receivers it takes a minute to learn the game.”

A New York minute in some cases. And Hill said he’s learning the game from a few folks wearing the green and white.

“I can still see myself as a little raw,” he said, “but Mark Sanchez and Santonio Holmes, they’re staying in my ear a lot. Even [Antonio] Cromartie and Revis are helping me out with little things they’re seeing.”

Almost as an afterthought, Hill was asked about the hamstring injury from early June that sidelined him for the full-squad minicamp. He said John Mellody and his training staff are keeping an eye him so as to have him ready to go for the Sept. 9 opener vs. the Bills. But from today’s work, Hill seems to have no beef with his hammy.

“Now I’m back,” he said, “and I’m ready to make plays.” Even a play (or two?) on the Island.

Key Performer

Johnson had an impromptu performance today that was similar off the field to his on-field roles in the 1998 AFC Divisional Round win over Jacksonville when he had a catch for one touchdown, ran for another, recovered a Jaguars fumble to set up his TD run, and intercepted a Hail Mary pass (thrown by Mark Brunell) as a DB at the end of the 34-24 triumph.

Today Key was an ESPN talent commenting on practice with Sal Paolantonio, a Los Angeleno giving fellow Southern Californian Sanchez a bro hug, a gray eminence trading confidences with fellow wideouts Holmes and Hill, and the proud owner of 23 Panera Bread franchises in the L.A. and central California regions. He also admitted to being a first-time Ryan admirer.

“Rex — I love him. This is the first time I’ve really met him. Man, I like him a lot,” Johnson said. “He’s tough. He’s a defensive coach. He kind of knows he has to put up or shut up. And he’s the coolest looking head coach in the NFL. He’s lost weight, he looks healthy, he has cool shoes and a tat on his calf.”

Keyshawn also gives a conditional thumbs-up to the Sanchez-Tim Tebow experiment assembled by Ryan, Mike Tannenbaum and Tony Sparano.

“They can’t split the reps, and I think they know that,” he said. “If you give one guy 15 plays because the offense has started out of rhythm or you want a change of pace, that’s OK. But if it’s a 50-50 split, they won’t win.”

And his advice to Jets fans if Sanchez hits a skid?

“I would have to say to the fans, sit patient,” he said. “There are other players on the team. This quarterback [Sanchez] has shown he can throw the football and win games at times, although there have been some issues. But I don’t know that a two-game skid warrants a new starter.”

Rex Cetera

Ryan said he liked a few elements of today’s opening session. For one, even though the players were in shells, not full pads, “The 9-on-7 mentality, I can’t wait to see that drill every day. On defense we have the kind of mentality that we can stop anybody from running the football. And on offense we have the exact opposite mentality, that we can run the ball on anybody. It’s an interesting mindset, and when they put the pads on, that’s one you want to watch for sure.”

Rex also liked today’s tempo of practice, which was so quick and efficient that in some periods the Jets got in almost twice as many plays as they had scripted, which is a big help to the third units, which got most of those extra snaps. And with that Sparano-inspired tempo, the coach said, “We’re a team that will be in shape.”

Ryan confirmed the LaRon Landry pitch count after the veteran safety, taken off the A-PUP list Thursday, was dressed but mostly stretching and watching today’s practice from behind the secondary. “We’re going to have him go full-speed every third practice. We may alter that as we go. He’s a full-speed guy. You don’t want him to be reckless. You want to make sure you get him to opening day to play Buffalo. That said, he’s also got to make up some ground, learn the defense, compete with his teammates.”

Practice Notes

CB Donnie Fletcher had a nice leaping breakup of a Greg McElroy deep ball for TE Dedrick Epps. … RB Bilal Powell had a nice series with several artful interior runs and receptions. … Revis got Sanchez back in 7-on-7’s with a sideline pick. … Tebow has a penchant for wanting to string out seemingly lost plays and then save them with a big downfield throw, not just via an improvised run.

Punter T.J. Conley showed the fruits of his offseason of strength and practice work by rocking a 63-yarder, 4.3 hangtime, out of bounds at the 7, followed immediately by a 65-yarder, 4.8 hang, OB at the 5. … To end practice, K Josh Brown missed from 42 and 44 yards, Nick Folk hit from 46 and 48, then Brown concluded by rocking through 50- and 52-yard field goals.


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Posted in Randy Lange | 21 Comments »


21 Responses to “Hill Brings a Thrilling Reception to Revis Island”

  1. By scjoe on Jul 27, 2012 | Reply

    Call me crazy, but I have a feeling we may be seeing a lot of “Tebow to Hill” deep passes this year. That is Tebow’s strength and Hill’s as well. I like Rex’s approach with Landry, make sure he is available game #1 for Buffalo. Looks like that PK competition will go down to the wire. I am kind of pulling for brown.

  2. By GaryC on Jul 27, 2012 | Reply

    finally jets are giving reps to slauson at right tackle,I mentioned this along time ago and Ira and others thought it would never happen,just a little improvement from Ducasse and you will see Slauson out there at tackle come opening game.Jets already brought in Otah to take over for Hunter and if he can’t pass the physical,first up will be Slauson.

  3. By GaryC on Jul 27, 2012 | Reply

    THREE ON A MATCH,first, Calvin Johnson, second, Donarrio Thomas, next Stephen Hill.

  4. By KirkW on Jul 27, 2012 | Reply

    “no beefs with the hammy”. Great line.

  5. By MarionBarber31 on Jul 27, 2012 | Reply

    Thanks Randy. I’m so psyched!!!

  6. By wayne on Jul 27, 2012 | Reply

    It’s early, but was thrilled about the Hill pick when it was made and my feelings have not changed…..And he will put DBs on their rumps…………From the reports it seems GQ has arrived the way I wanted him to: BUFF N GRUFF………

  7. By 40 year fan on Jul 27, 2012 | Reply

    Ha haaaaa ..now we’re talkin’ Revis probably underestimated the rook …nice start

  8. By wayne on Jul 27, 2012 | Reply

    now stand in the pocket and face the rush like a man and guaranteed, your teammates will follow you.

  9. By Jet Fan Since '64 Tom on Jul 27, 2012 | Reply

    That’s young, fast, and BIG for Hill, Rex, as in bigger than Revis. So tell me, Ira, did Hill today look like a guy who can’t catch 45-55 passes this yr, even with our messy QB situation? I really want you to stay on this, both business and pleasure keeps me from coming to Cortland in the very yr when the Jets finally draft an exciting WR prospect. GaryC, you must feel like Harold Stassen if he’d ever been elected president, seeing Slauson moved to RT — even for a hot second — so Ducasse can come in at LG. But I guess having touted the Ducasse pick to begin with, you feel a sense of obligation on this one. Certainly it would be a very welcome surprise if Ducasse became a reliable starter at LG this yr!

  10. By Jimmer on Jul 28, 2012 | Reply

    As I said a few weeks back, I think Hill might be the most important skill player this yr. Rip me now all you want, but when this kid gets pro bowl votes, eat crow.
    There will never be 9 in the box as long as Hill & Holmes are on the field. We may take note of how many times there are 8 for that matter. Audibles out of run plays will be the key this season. Watch, we will see most teams running tampa-2 this year against us, at least by mid-season.

  11. By Jimmer on Jul 28, 2012 | Reply

    64 Tom, I think I have to agree with you to an extent. I watched the last few games in slomo just to watch the OL. I would have to say I rated pass protection by player, Moore-Mangold-Slauson-Ferguson-Hunter. But I’m not sold on Slauson taking on real pass rushers alone. Inside he was pretty good, but I’m not sure about the outside. I think we’ll be taking a OT in the early 2013 draft either way.
    For those who recall, yes, at the end of 2010 I called Moore a turnstyle. I think he reads these posts.
    The “zone blocking” of last year is gone, I think it’s more muscle than cerebral this yr. Hunter may turn into a probowl candidate as well. Let’s see.

  12. By GaryC on Jul 28, 2012 | Reply

    JetFanTom, what it comes down to, is if Ducasse outperforms Hunter, because they are setting Slauson up to move to either guard or tackle,if otah can’t pass physical where are jets going,the backup plan will be to move Slauson over if ducasse performs and it doesn’t have to be a big improvement to better Hunter.

  13. By Tom Spicer on Jul 28, 2012 | Reply

    I read that cause of the Slauson injury that all off season Ducasse has been the starting right guard & Slauson is now working at right tackle. If the Otah deal falls thru look out for Slauson to battle Hunter for the RT spot. If Otah can pass his physical you have 3 pro bowlers in Mangold, Brick & Moore. Than have Slauson & Ducasse battle at right guard & Otah & Hunter battle at right tackle. Those are our 2 weakest spots so competion wil be great there but based off of playing history Slauson & Otah get the nod.

  14. By Tom Spicer on Jul 28, 2012 | Reply

    SCJoe, In a prior post you were talking about Tebow & someone calling him a distraction. I think you are misunderstanding what guys mean by Tebow being a distraction he himself is not the distraction but the media attention & his fanatical followers are. For example everyday in the local paper they have a timeline of everything he does & he has his own press conferences. Why he is a backup QB? In todays paper it said something like 8:15 has a catch with Mark Sanchez! Really do we need to know this? Tell me how Coples, Davis, Wilkerson, Ellis, Bell, Landry, Hill, McKnight, Sanchez & Otah are doing all before we hear about Tebow.

  15. By GaryC on Jul 28, 2012 | Reply

    just remember jetfantom, when the jets were trying ducasse at tackle I said the only way he starts is if he makes it at left guard,so it wasn’t exactly blind loyalty I had with ducasse,not like you with david clowney.

  16. By carweezy f on Jul 28, 2012 | Reply

    Kerley hurt his hammy in todays practice and Rex said he isn’t progressing in Sparanos offense. Thats a dissapointment but that my mean more of Tone in the slot. We have Turner, Chaz, and Hill all which are huge and can block. I hope #89 Dexter Jackson does well in camp. He’s fast, would work well in the slot because he is short and quick, and he deserves a shot on the team. GO JETS!!

  17. By scjoe on Jul 28, 2012 | Reply

    Hey guys, lets not put Hill in the HOF on the first or second day of camp. And just to be fair, I say that because it takes much more then just speed alone for a WR to excel. Besides their own abilities (route running, catching the ball, RAC ability, blocking down field, toughness etc.) they also need a QB to get them the ball with some resemblance of accuracy on a consistent basis along with an O line that can give that QB time to throw and time for the play to develop. So lets wait until at least mid season and see how all of theses intangibles play out before we anoint him.

  18. By scjoe on Jul 28, 2012 | Reply

    Spicer, no, I am not misunderstanding. I know exactly who those are who are calling Tebow a distraction. The media! And that was who I directed my question to (Casserly) As for the team itself, they are supposed to be professionals, so what a sports writer writes or what a sportscaster says should not affect what they do on the playing field. If it does, changes need to be made. Take a close look at Tebow and see how he is handling all of the attention. That is how everyone else, teammates fans and media alike needs to handle it. The word “distraction” is a word used by the media and by some fans. It should not even be in a players dictionary.

  19. By danny on Jul 28, 2012 | Reply

    I haven’t been so excited for a young rookie like I am with Hill since maybe Keyshawn. I can’t lie I’m also really really excited to see what LaRon Landry looks like playing in our D. God I hope he stays healthy cause he fits rite in with our D mentality and top 5 D

  20. By Jet Fan Since '64 Tom on Jul 28, 2012 | Reply

    Good analysis of the OL, Jimmer, so don’t take my remark about you calling Brady a wuss on the other story too seriously. I’ll just take a wuss with Brady’s pocket presence, arm, and accuracy anyday. GaryC, I still think Clowney could’ve made it if Rex wasn’t the HC, Clowney was largely a victim of the worst Rex-Schotty days of O ineptitude. Luckily, Hill’s too big, fast, and skillful for even Rex to ignore him, and I predict Sparano will help with Kerley similarly. carweezyf, Rex wouldn’t know progress from a WR if it hit him over the head. scjoe, no one’s saying Hill is gonna dominate from Day One but Jimmer’s right about how he and Holmes will change D’s — and isn’t it fun for the talk in camp to be a WR for a change?

  21. By Jet Fan Since '64 Tom on Jul 28, 2012 | Reply

    GaryC, I’m rooting for you (and Ducasse) on Ducasse, as you know one of my big gripes is that the Jets get overly excited about guys they draft, then don’t give them enough of a chance to make the team. People talk about Gholston as if he was some kind of 3-yr plague, but on other teams it’s not unusual to actually play guys a little for 3 yrs before giving up on them. In fact, it’s the rule. With Rex, the rule is to say Wilson is as good as Revis in August and bench him in September.

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