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Encore? Hill Focuses on Making Progress at PIT

Posted by Randy Lange on September 13, 2012 – 5:24 pm

Updated, 6:15 p.m. ET

It’s too early to declare Stephen Hill a legitimate Rookie of the Year candidate, but in his NFL debut on Sunday the Jets’ first-year man gave some hints that he may already be beyond rookiedom.

Take Hill’s response today to a question about the Steelers’ press coverage, which may be a little more physical than the Bills’ presence at the line of scrimmage.

“Oh, definitely, you look forward to all types of coverages,” Hill said. “When somebody’s coming up to you, you can get a little physical with them, see where their head is. I’m definitely looking forward to that when they come up in press.”

That’s more than youthful yammering. Watch Hill’s first catch as a Jet, the third play of the game. He drove fellow rookie Stephon Gilmore off with a forceful forearm off the line, which gave him the separation he needed to latch onto Mark Sanchez’s short throw without distraction for the first of his five receptions and the first of his three third-down conversions. It won’t always be that easy, perhaps a lot harder Sunday against Pitt corners Ike Taylor and Keenan Lewis. Still, his physicality was impressive.

Then there’s his response to his new-found fame in the big city. I mentioned another name he’d probably never heard of today, the name of Al Dorow. Why do Dorow and Hill belong in the same sentence? Because until Hill had his two touchdown catches vs. the Bills, only one player in franchise history had ever scored two TDs of any kind in his Jets/Titans debut regardless of position and experience. That was Dorow, who ran for the first two TDs in franchise history in the Titans’ inaugural game in 1960.

So Hill accomplished something that is roughly a once-in-52-years occurrence.

He smiled politely as I unfolded that blast from the past, even repeated a little of what he’d heard about the Jets’ migration from the AFL to the AFC in 1970. But he declined to be dazzled by his own brilliance.

“This is a week that I’m trying to make more a stride with all of my physical abilities, putting more stuff into my game,” he said. “Now I’m playing veteran veterans, ninth-year-type guys. [Taylor’s in his 10th year.] Even going against Cromartie and Revis, they’re still young guys. I’m going against some old heads now. I’m just trying to play my part and do whatever Coach asks me to do.”

It’s early. But the signs from Hill are all pointing up.

Money Toes

Santonio Holmes, who nearly had another one of his impossible touchdown catches on Sunday to go with Super Bowl XLIII and the 2010 AFC Divisional win at New England, explained the thought process he goes through while making such boundary plays.

“I honestly didn’t think twice that my hand touched the ground before my feet did,” he said of his second-quarter near-miss. “My main focus was if I could get this back foot down before I hit the ground, then I would get in.

“It’s all according to working on your mechanics. Most people probably wouldn’t have thought twice to get a back foot down, but I know that’s where all the money is made, by getting two feet down in the back of the end zone. That’s been my focus since joining the NFL.”

How does one exactly practice that kind of impossible skill?

“I think you just travel it through your mind,” he said. “Every day we work on sideline catches and just dragging the toe. It becomes a second-nature thing, where once you’re in the back of the end zone, the only thing that matters is the catch and two feet touching down. You have to know your boundaries. You have to use your peripheral vision to know when you’re leaving you’re feet, how much ground you have, where the sideline is. All those things really factor into playing wide receiver.”

Rex Cetera

Reporter John Holt will have more on Darrelle Revis, who spoke with reporters after this afternoon’s practice, Head coach Rex Ryan’s update on No. 24’s mild concussion wasn’t much different today than Wednesday: “His status remains the same. He’s been cleared to resume physical activity,” Rex said, adding that Revis will probably not be a gametime decision. “I think you wouldn’t put him on a plane if the guy had a concussion. So I think by Saturday [before the Jets leave for Pittsburgh] we would have an answer.”

Ryan also said he thinks another Game 1 Jets star, Jeremy Kerley (low back), will be available for the Steelers. “I’ve been wrong in the past,” Rex said, “but I think he’ll be ready to play.”

Officially, Kerley and FB John Conner (knee) stepped up from DNP to being limited in team drills today, while S LaRon Landry (heel), TE Dustin Keller (hamstring) and CB Isaiah Trufant (ankle) all didn’t participate today after some team activities Wednesday, while Bryan Thomas (hamstring) remained sidelined.

Pittsburgh’s health improved with RB Jonathan Dwyer (foot) joining RB Rashard Mendenhall (knee) as practicing full in the Steelers’ team drills. But coach Mike Tomlin also added T Max Starks to his I-list as not participating today due to illness.

Landry’s crushing hits inspired a question for Ryan about if he likes to develop a “fear factor” on his defenses. “I always look at it this way,” the coach said. “I always want to have as many guys on my team that you wouldn’t want your kid playing against.’

One more note on the win over the Bills: The Jets’ first three touchdowns of the game came in a span of 8:22 on the gameclock. That’s the fastest they’ve scored three TDs in a season opener since the 1970 merger. The previous fastest was 8:34, which they achieved in 1972 en route to their 41-24 win over the Bills at War Memorial Stadium.

Catch Up with Chrebet

Speaking of celebrated Jets wide receivers, Wayne Chrebet will be appearing at a public signing on Saturday. No. 80 will be at The Steiner Sports Store at the Roosevelt Field Mall in Garden City, N.Y., from 12:30-2 p.m.

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Posted in Randy Lange | 35 Comments »

35 Responses to “Encore? Hill Focuses on Making Progress at PIT”

  1. By SCfromNY on Sep 13, 2012 | Reply

    I have to hope that Hill continues to impress. We desearve something to balance out the Gohlsons. I also hope that Revis makes the trip.

  2. By By Jet Fan Since 1964 Frank on Sep 13, 2012 | Reply

    The Jets were very impressive in their first win. Hill is definitly a great find. Now lets get past the “Steelers”… “LETS GO JETS”

  3. By dougmc on Sep 13, 2012 | Reply

    Steal one from the Steelers…Chop down Rothlisberger…

  4. By IRA on Sep 14, 2012 | Reply

    Yes this will be a lot tougher on Hill this week but its part of the growing pains the Jets have decided to go with starting a rookie WR who really didn’t get much WR time playing at Georgia.
    This game with or without Revis will come down to the pressure they get on Big Ben and the Jets offense not turning the ball over and using the pass to set up the run. If the Jets can withstand the emotions the Steelers will be playing with early on this will come down the the wire. I am not sold on Pitt and think the Jets can win a 23-20 game IF they play their game and force turnovers again. I think Wilson will be just fine. Look for Landry and Maybin to have a big game getting after Big Ben. Good Luck to Hunter who gets the start this week.

  5. By GaryC on Sep 14, 2012 | Reply

    jets should also be thinking about Bush at corner if Revis can’t make it,keep wilson in the slot.Bush played corner also at Wake Forest,and gives them better size on the corner then either Lankster or Trufant.

  6. By IRA on Sep 14, 2012 | Reply

    Gary, I was thinking the same i think we will see Bush at CB at times and maybe Allen or Fletcher will play this week if Revis is out.

  7. By GaryC on Sep 14, 2012 | Reply

    Ira,if you keep Wilson in the slot you are only changing one position,revis’s,If wilson takes revis’s corner spot,you are changing two.It is a lot to do with one weeks practice.

  8. By Ronald T on Sep 14, 2012 | Reply

    Yes they will have to steal one to get this win. j E T S …JETS JETS JETS

  9. By scjoe on Sep 14, 2012 | Reply

    NY was great, the game, the food, the weather, and seeing family and friends, were all great, but it is good to be back home again and get back in to my own routine, which of course includes Randy’s radar.

  10. By Jet Fan Since '64 Tom on Sep 14, 2012 | Reply

    Yeah, Ira, starting a rookie, just like we did with Revis, Mangold, Brick, Keller, Sanchez, Slauson (not technically but essentially), Greene, Wilk, and now Hill — not coincidentally just about the only young players that we have currently that any other teams would ever show any interest in, though I admit the jury is still out on Sanchez.

  11. By Chicago Bob on Sep 14, 2012 | Reply

    Even if Revis is able to play, like IRA said, it will all come down to being able to get to Big Ben. Anyone who watched the game last night saw it – the Bears receiving corps has improved tremendously however Cutler was running for his life all night long. The Steelers O-Line is not what it used to be, we need for our D-Line to step up and knock Ben around. If the Jets can come out of these first seven games at 5-2 or no worse than 4-3 and relatively healthy, then we’ve got something to talk about.

  12. By IRA on Sep 14, 2012 | Reply

    Looks like no Keller this week. They should’ve sat him last week. I told you guys something was wrong this offseason with the conditioning with the WR’s. Way too many hamstring issues from that position. Something is wrong they all had issues. Last year with the lockout they didn’t have these hamstring issues. Doesn’t make sense.
    Glad they resigned Epps i thought he made some nice catches in the preseason and if they need to throw to him this week i think he can get the job done. GO JETS!!!!

  13. By Ed in Tucson on Sep 14, 2012 | Reply

    I think we’ll be seeing a lot more Wildcat on Sunday. Pittsburg is tough & aggressive but they can be beat with misdirection plays on offense. Our best D will be ball control on O. Keep Big Ben on the bench while we take our own sweet time about scoring. MS had a gr8 game against Buffalo’s young secondary but let’s not press our luck against this veteran team; more ground & pound & short to medium passes. An occasional long pass on 3rd & 1 or 4th & 1 off play action might work wonders.
    It’s hard to see Pitt starting 0 & 2 but we can do it if we control the time of possession. Jets 28 Steelers 24.

  14. By Tom Spicer on Sep 14, 2012 | Reply

    No Revis & no Keller! Wow this is going to be a really REALLY tuff game to pull out. We are going to have to play almost a perfect game to get this one. Win the turnover battle, stop the run & make them 1 dimensional, pressure Big Ben all day & it is going to be very hard to run against them so we have to keep the sacks to a low number so we can throw the ball. J E T S JETS JETS JETS!

  15. By scjoe on Sep 14, 2012 | Reply

    With Revis being ruled out for Pit, it will make the game difficult, not impossible. I think the D line and the pass rush in general will be more of a factor then who starts at CB along with Cro. If the pass rush is there it would make life a whole lot easier for whoever it is starting at Revis’s spot. Jets 27 Pit 24

  16. By scjoe on Sep 14, 2012 | Reply

    Ira, the problem came along with the new CBA whereby the league is being transformed into a flag football league. The lack of two a days and OTAs has made the situation what it is. And by no means believe that that is the extent of the problem. They talk about safety and keeping the QB healthy? Did anyone take note of the amount of sacks this first week, along with the Bears/Packers game last night? An astounding 85 QB sacks and God knows how many more hits! Beware my friends.

  17. By Ed in Tucson on Sep 14, 2012 | Reply

    Problem: Keller out.
    Solution: Tebow in TE rotation. This could set up a trick play or 2, a TE pass?

  18. By Jet Fan Since '64 Tom on Sep 14, 2012 | Reply

    Why do you guys predict scores? It’s once or twice a year that anyone even comes close. Like we really expected to lose 9-0 to GB or 10-6 to MIA.

  19. By obewan on Sep 14, 2012 | Reply

    I think you might see bush more this week at safety in hopes to cover up Wilson deep.

  20. By Ray Czyk on Sep 14, 2012 | Reply

    Protect Sanchise. Play smart short pass- run game control. Get to Ben and lay some Forget me not shots on him. Then the Jets will have a 2-0 record! GO GREEN !!!

  21. By Arte Olde School Section 327 on Sep 14, 2012 | Reply


  22. By Ed in Tucson on Sep 15, 2012 | Reply

    “Why do you guys predict scores?” Because we want to.

  23. By GaryC on Sep 15, 2012 | Reply

    JetFanTom,same reason people predict stats,like I did last week with Sanchez,hitting it on the head with td passes and off by six yards with total passing yardage,This week maybe less then 200 yards,1td and 2 intercepts,hopefully enough to win.

  24. By Jet Fan Since '64 Tom on Sep 15, 2012 | Reply

    You ever heard of, like. everyday conversation on a web site, Ed? Instead of mountains of misinterpreted stats? Or personal insults that have nothing to do with the Jets? I just don’t get why so many folks think their predictions are worth much of anything. If it’s fun to do, okay, I just don’t put much stock in it. The injury reports, especially this week, interest me a lot more…

  25. By Mike Jet Vet on Sep 15, 2012 | Reply

    Since everyone is making predictions, guess I’ll throw one out there,With Keller out,and as good as he is he’s more a receiver then TE, He can’t block worth squat .. Cumberland needs to step up not worried there.. We have our receiver’s set for Pittsburgh, Now Revis is our problem, I know Ira, optimist that he is and I’m sure he’s trying to put a positive spin on Wilson, So here is my prediction if we lose this game.. Wilson will be part of the cause not solution, You can quote me Sunday, if he has a great game.. I will be very surprised not to mention a first. in his 3 seasons here

  26. By Ed in Tucson on Sep 15, 2012 | Reply

    “You ever heard of, like. everyday conversation on a web site, Ed?” Are you disinviting me from the site? If you’re saying that I only post “mountains of misinterpreted stats Or personal insults ” then you must have me mistaken for someone else. As to the everyday thing, I have a life, I work 2 jobs & I’m a 3 sport guy. The Diamondbacks had a magical season last year & when I read the comments here it was a lot of whining & moaning about Rex, Mr T & Woody Johnson. Those who weren’t whining about management were trading personal insults with each other about their visions of where the team should be headed. I don’t pay too much attention to the names of the posters because I don’t want to get involved in the feuds that I’ve seen running here

  27. By Ed in Tucson on Sep 15, 2012 | Reply

    Last night I was thinking that there was some talk in the past about Mcknight playing CB. I just saw on NFL.com that he might be used as a CB tomorrow. I hope he does well if he’s used. With Harrison & Polamalu out for Pitt our O should be able to move the the ball against their D, slow & steady is the way to go. Control the ball & you control the game.

  28. By Gregg from CA on Sep 15, 2012 | Reply

    Someone posted that changing multiple positions in the secondary would be too confusing. I disagree, each of these players learn multiple positions as a normal matter of course. From what I understand, they run a minimal number of reps to ingrain the communication, so it’s not a world of difference from multiple personnel groups on offense, maybe just a continent’s worth of difference.

  29. By Gregg from CA on Sep 15, 2012 | Reply

    Revis is ONE player. We’re not talking like the defense only gets to field ten players because he’s out, we still get all eleven – just like 31 other teams in the league. Yeah, there’s no way to ignore that there’ll be a dropoff, but it’s not the end of the world.

    Same goes with Keller – as people have been mentioning, he’s not the ultimate TE, and you give up some skills in favor of others when you sub in Cumberland and Epps. NO player is guaranteed to affect a game drastically by his presence or absence – note the use of the word “guaranteed”. Sometimes, backups surprise you and shine!

  30. By Gregg from CA on Sep 15, 2012 | Reply

    Thanks, Ed. I’m not sure who Tom was referring to about personal insults, but it certainly shouldn’t be you. I tweak him sometimes, but that’s not insulting him – it’s just friendly ribbing (we’ve been talking outside the blog for a few years now).

    Tom, let’s get back to predictions for one moment. You keep “predicting” that the team will fail miserably this year, and that the entire front office and Rex will be kicked to the curb. Better yet, Woody will somehow submit to public opinion and sell the team to a “football person”. How is that any more germane than score predictions?

  31. By Jet Fan Since '64 Tom on Sep 15, 2012 | Reply

    Hey Ed, don’t bring a thermonuclear weapon to a website fight, okay? Touchy much? I wasn’t citing stuff you post that I don’t like on the site, to do that I’d cite your faith in the Wildcat. (Like the old Hollywood joke goes, “Oh, YOU’RE the one who likes it!” And Rex, of course.) I suggest you chill out (if I told you how hard I work, you’d faint) and stop “whining” like a kid when someone disagrees with you. (Next you’ll tell me that a movie of the Jet loss to PIT made you unload on me.) And let me know how much you like it next time you “whine” to one of your bosses about a raise and he ignores you. Sam Peckinpah said, “All I want is to enter my house justified.” Well, all I want is to enter a JET STADIUM justified — and victorious!

  32. By Jet Fan Since '64 Tom on Sep 15, 2012 | Reply

    Good question, Gregg, but I think there’s a difference between predicting the score of a game exactly and warning that the team is going in the wrong direction. I still think it’ll be hard to win more than 6 games this yr unless the O fires on all cylinders like it did last week almost every week — and you’re not gonna tell me THAT’S a lock, right? Besides, one of the only pts on which I’ll brag on myself is on the question of the O. Sparano ran pass plays last week we haven’t seen in all the time that Schotty was here and at times Schotty never would’ve. If Sanchez can keep executing them — you’ll recall I said he should have this yr to sink or swim — and we keep PLAYING OUR YOUNG WRS, we’ll see whose sense of the team was on or off.

  33. By Mike Jet Vet on Sep 15, 2012 | Reply

    Good one Gregg, Tom is Ok by me. But he needs to stop with the fire Rex comments.I don’t know how everyone else feels about Rex, But, as I have brought to everyone attention, Rex has a better 3 year record then any 3 year span of any other Jet coach in history Including B- Parcells …so in my book he deserves at least One 5 and 11 season before we even start talking about kicking him to the curb.

  34. By SCfromNY on Sep 16, 2012 | Reply

    I think Rex has his problems. Among them being very offense challenged, loyality to players past their prime, and a habit of praising too much. I do think his positives outway his negatives. It is nice to see a real person in news conferences. I think Rex is a victum of his own success (the teams). If 8-8 was his first season and followed by 2 chapionship games he would be praised. Coaching is difficult. Bill Cowher in all his years won 2 SBs. Would it be nice yes but what coach has been here as long. Is coaching a problem in Dallas where they have only won 1 playoff came in years. If Rex can surround himself with quaility co-ordinaters, jury still out on Sporano, he can be very effective.

  35. By Jet Fan Since '64 Tom on Sep 16, 2012 | Reply

    Thanks for the overall approval rating, Spicer, but I just think it’s clear that Rex doesn’t have the overall skills or character to be a great HC. I’m saying he should be fired when we’re 1-0 — that would be like Arte in reverse — but like Sanchez, he needs badly to prove this yr that he’s worth keeping.

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