New York Jets' Sanjay Lal Not Calling Stephen Hill a Bust Yet

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Sep 22, 2013; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; New York Jets wide receiver Stephen Hill (84) celebrates after a touchdown against the Buffalo Bills at MetLife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Robert Deutsch-USA TODAY Sports

Stephen Hill. There is the name of a guy that Jets fans love to hate. He was a questionable choice in 2012 when he was drafted by Mike Tannenbaum, simply because of his college experience. He had a rough go at in 2012, he was injured, and primarily the same story last season.

A receiver chosen in the second round of the draft brings with him high expectations. Fair or not, it’s just truth. Stephen Hill has not lived up to those expectations, so we are hating him, using the b-word, “bust”. I think if he continues to play poorly people might even stoop lower and call him Sanchez, that’s how much he is hated.

But Stephen is not hated by everyone. His receivers’ coach, Sanjay Lal, still holds out limited hope, not ready to use the b-word,

“It’s a little early to label him as a bust,” wide receivers coach Sanjay Lal told the New York Daily News. “When I think of bust, I don’t think of him that way. I have seen players who are higher picks that were busts because of their own laziness. Those are busts.”

It would be easy to just react to that by thinking that Sanjay Lal is making excuses for Mr. Hill. Sure he has been injured, no doubt about that. When he has been on the field, he has been pretty bad. Sanjay is just using the injuries as an excuse, Stephen Hill is a bust, right? To answer the question, you have to determine whether or not, in your mind, there is potential to put it together.

Let’s talk about that….

Look at last season for a minute. Before Stephen was injured, he had not been awful in the first half of the season. Project his stats out from the first half (23 receptions, 340 yards, one touchdown) and you get 46 receptions for 680 yards and two touchdowns.

Now I am not still under anesthesia or anything, I am not saying we are calling Canton over those numbers. All I am saying is that we wouldn’t be kicking him out the door over them either.

As we move ahead, you will recognize some numbers and figures courtesy of Pro Football Focus.

In the beginning…….

Stephen Hill played his first game against the Bills to open the 2012 season.  In that one Stephen posted five receptions for 89 yards and two touchdowns. His rating on PFT was a 2.4.  OK that has been a career water mark to date, but the potential for numbers is there.  Stephen posted positive ratings two more times in 2012, week six (1.4), and week 13 (1.1).

For comparison sake, Santonio Holmes has only twice posted a higher rating that 2.4 in a Jets’ uniform.

Again, not calling for his bust in Canton. Just saying, maybe he is not a bust yet.

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  • Paul Newbold

    Hill has been a disappointment, but as you know Alan, I like the kid. The Jets stretched choosing him, making the expectations unfairly high on him. He was likely more of a mid round selection when it came to talent and maybe a late rounder if you based it on experience. He had no experience running any sort of route tree, caught very few balls in college and was coming off an injury. He’s flashed at times and has shown slow improvement. To his credit, he hasn’t been surrounded by a whole lot of talent at WR or QB in his tenure here. I’m not too sure his spot is in any kind of jeopardy this year, he’s still playing on the cheap rookie contract, and I think the Jets will allow him to play it out before cutting him. I’m hoping the addition of Decker and Amaro will aid in his play on the field. While he’s struggled with injuries, his development has been tortuously slow, leaving me to question Sanjay Lal abilities. Maybe Jet fans should be calling Sanjay a bust! As I see it he’s developed very little talent since his arrival on the staff. They actually surprised me when they resigned him this off season!

    • Alan Schechter

      Hey Paul. Yes I agree with you and if he is going to come full circle, this roster with Decker and Amaro around will be the one he does it with.

    • RONBO19

      Paul, your last comment says it all. Sanjay Lal who coached 5 talented receivers in Oakland who most predicted would all be excellent players (Jason Heywood Bey, Jacoby Ford(now a Jet)Louis Murphy and former Jet Chaz Schillens) and then rookie Danarious Moore(who many feel has star potential and none of them did much under Lal’s tutorledge? Makes you wonder? As for Hill, yes Hill’s disappointed Jet fans but his slow development hasn’t surprised most scouts who predicted he would struggle because he lacked the ability to quickly change direction due to his height and lack of pro style experience in college. In spite of his 4.3 40 time and 39 inch vertical at the combine he struggled in the three cone drill as well as the shuttles which are drills designed to test a players change of direction ability.Hill finished at the bottom in both of those drills and his struggles at this level are largely due to his inability to change which is how receivers separate from defenders.

      • Paul Newbold

        Correct me if I’m wrong Ronbo, It seems to me that with basic agility drills, and some flexibility training, the Jets could have fixed his separation issues by now! His hands improved to some degree last season, and his speed is a definite asset. The Jets way over drafted Hill, even trading up to get him I believe! If he turns out to be a bust for us, I have to believe that its the Jets coaches that have failed! The kid has talent, everyone has seen the flashes, so I’m left to wonder why they can’t develop it?

        • RONBO19

          Paul, No correction needed because you are spot on as usual. Again, this goes back to your original premise that what ever coaching he has received has done little if anything to improve his game. If you look at the 5 receivers I listed above from the Raiders and then look at how high they were all drafted and how highly regarded they all were, and compare that to how little success any of them has had and then look at the young receivers the Jets have had who have also failed to develop the one common denominator is Sanjay Lal. Why the powers that be in Jet land haven’t figured this out is a mystery to me?

          • Paul Newbold

            I believe Rex hires the coaching staff, I’ll leave it at that.

          • RONBO19

            Thats an interesting conversation waiting to happen in itself. If you recall prior to last season Rex’s assistants starting bailing like rats on a sinking ship. With all the speculation that Rex’s job was shaky at best with many expecting Izzy to bring in his own guy after giving Rex the obligatory year Woody mandated i could see why many sought employment elsewhere. Obviously Pettine & Sutton getting D.C jobs in Buffalo and K.C were logical moves but 6 other assistants also left so perhaps Rex kept Lal around out of loyalty or to minimize his loss’s? We will probably never get a straight answer on this one but if the receivers don’t show significant progrees this year it will be interesting to see how the justifies keeping him around next year?

  • speakincreeker

    Hill has shown exactly nothing in two years. I understand that he was more of a blocker than anything in college, but excuses are excuses. I don’t expect Hill to make it out of training camp. He just isn’t any good.

    • Alan Schechter

      Also a realistic scenario, no doubt

  • jetcarlos

    I think hill definitely has talent I wouldn’t say he’s a bust yet but this year better be a breakout season if not then question marks will be surrounding his name

    • Alan Schechter

      Fair enough.