WR Stephen Hill, Free agent
HT: 6-4, WT: 215, Born: 4-25-1991, College: Georgia Tech, Drafted: Round 2
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It's about down to the last chance for former 2012 second round pick, as reports by ESPN New York's Rich Cimini say the team's patience is "wearing thin." Hill has size and speed but is one of the more inconsistent receivers the Jets have fielded in the last few years—which is really saying something. It's entirely possible that he can step down the depth chart or worse, drop off the roster, if he doesn't have a very good summer. If one of the rookies from the draft or a guy like David Nelson or Clyde Gates can show him up, Hill could be gone. More than likely, Hill is going to be given one more year, but you can't count on him as anything but depth in a very deep league.
2013 Game Summaries
Week 1 - Stephen Hill and Geno Smith built upon their impressive pre-season performance. Hill has shown the ability to stretch the field, but given the conservative nature of the game plan, all of Hill’s routes were of the short-to-intermediate variety. On several of Smith’s designed roll outs, Hill ran drag routes across the formation and used his size to box out smaller corners. During the fourth quarter, Hill ran an out-route and secured a lowly thrown pass for a 9-yard gain. The referees initially ruled it incomplete, but the Jets successfully challenged. This reception was important because it prolonged a drive that led to a go-ahead field goal. When he wasn’t running sideline routes, Hill ran deep post routes to draw safeties away from Kellen Winslow.
While it doesn’t show up in the box score, Hill appears focused and re-energized. Smith and Hill have developed strong chemistry that should lead to bigger plays in coming weeks.
Week 2 - Is there a more maddening receiver than Stephen Hill? Hill and Geno Smith started the game with a huge 33-yard completion on a deep crossing route. Smith hit Hill in stride, but Hill took a low hit and fumbled the ball away. Ball security is becoming an obvious issue that Hill must address right away. This turnover led to three critical points for New England. Two drives later, Smith hit Hill on a comeback route on a key 3rd-and-2. Hill was matched up against the smaller Kyle Arrington. After making the catch before the first down marker, Smith failed to drive his legs through Arrington’s tackle and came up shy of the marker. In the fourth quarter, Hill was able to get separation downfield and Smith threw a great pass for a 37-yard completion. This play firmly put the Jets in field goal range, but three plays later, Smith threw an untimely interception.
Hill had his share of dropped passes, but spent the majority of the game beating press coverage. Hill ran a first quarter arrow route into the back of the end zone, but Smith failed to recognize Hill was wide open. As the season progresses and Smith develops more chemistry with Hill, fans expect to see better timing between the two young players. If Mornhinweg continues to open up the playbook, Hill will be the direct beneficiary.
Week 3 - Week after week, Stephen Hill and Geno Smith become more comfortable with each other. Marty Mornhinweg continues to open up the playbook and Hill has become the biggest beneficiary. During his first drive, Smith found Hill down the seam for a 45-yard gain. Hill displayed his impressive straight line speed that made him a second round pick. Buffalo’s coverage broke down and Smith delivered a perfect ball that only Hill could catch. Midway through the third quarter, Smith found Hill on a zone route for a 12-yard gain. Two plays later, Hill beat Justin Rogers down the right sideline for a 51-yard touchdown. Smith put the throw on Hill’s back shoulder and Hill slightly pushed off Rogers to make the catch before accelerating an additional 20 yards into the end zone. Smith and the Jet receivers abused Rogers, so take his final stat line with a grain of salt. After a few drops, Hill did not record a reception in the second half. Hill has the tendency to mentally check out when he isn’t targeted, which was evident by in the fourth quarter. Hill is still very raw as a receiver, but his straight line speed makes him a big play threat. Expect Hill to continue to serve as Smith’s 1B option.
Week 4 - Hill left with a concussion in the first quarter. His status for next week's game on Monday night is up in the air, but the extra day gives him a better chance of playing.
Week 5 - Stephen Hill did not make his first catch until the game winning drive. Hill, who battled through a concussion and did not receive clearance until Friday, did not play a full complement of snaps, but came up big when his team needed him the most. Smith started the game winning drive by completing two of first three pass attempts to Hill. New York needed 40 yards to get into field goal range, so Atlanta played zone coverage and Hill found soft spots. New York will need his play making ability for next week’s match-up against Pittsburgh.
Week 6 - After a relatively quiet performance against Atlanta, Hill was peppered with seven of his eight targets as New York attempted to mount a second half comeback. Week after week, Hill improves his ball skills and shows glimpses of the big play threat New York needs. Midway through the 2nd quarter, Hill made a tough catch along the sideline for a 21-yard gain. Hill took a massive hit from Troy Polamalu and appeared to be injured. However, Hill shrugged off the hit and returned the game. Early in the 3rd quarter, Smith had Hill wide open down the right sideline, but the pass was slightly overthrown. Hill battled against Ike Taylor during the second half and secured two catches for 35 yards. Hill worked the sideline and displayed impressive body control as he made the catches.
Week 7 - It was a frustrating game for Stephen Hill. New England’s corners were very physical with him and he had trouble creating separation off the line of scrimmage. Midway through the 2nd quarter, Hill caught a deep touchdown pass, but was flagged for offensive pass interference. Several of Hill’s targets were deep balls that were thrown out of bounds. Hill continues to be an inconsistent, ‘All or Nothing’ option in New York’s offense.
Week 8 - Since suffering a concussion in Week 4, Hill has become an afterthought in the passing game. Early in the season, Hill excelled as a deep threat on the outside, but those plays have stopped. New York is opting to use Hill on underneath routes where he looks tentative. Hill did not catch his first pass until the third quarter when he settled in the middle of zone coverage and fell down after securing a 5-yard gain. Smith came back to Hill on the next play for a small four-yard gain.
Week 9 - Hill has become a complete afterthought in New York’s offense.
Week 11 - Despite receiving seven targets, Hill was held without a reception for the second straight game. Hill’s production is plagued by inconsistent quarterback play. Five of Hill’s seven targets were overthrown as Geno Smith was unable deliver accurate passes under duress. Hill’s other two targets were underthrown as Buffalo’s defensive lineman tipped passes at the line of scrimmage.
Week 13 - Stephen Hill caught his first pass since Week 8. Hill’s lone reception occurred during the first half on a short out-route. Hill received two end zone targets, but poor throws from his quarterbacks did not give him a scoring opportunity.