5 Reasons for Jets Fans to be Optimistic: Number 3


June 14, 2012; Florham Park, NJ, USA; New York Jets offensive coordinator Tony Sparano during minicamp at the Atlantic Health Training Center. Mandatory Credit: Ed Mulholland-US PRESSWIRE

Good morning Jets fans, and happy Wednesday as we return to our countdown. Training camp is rapidly approaching, and this week we have been doing a countdown, in no particular order, of five reasons to be optimistic for the upcoming season. In case you missed them:

You can read number 5 by clicking here

and you can read number 4 by clicking here

Now, we move on to number 3.  No, it is not Tony Sparano, although he is pictured.  But it is one of Sparano’s offensive players.

He is going to be a major threat in the arsenal of Mark Sanchez.

Turn the page to find out who it is…

May 24, 2012; Florham Park, NJ, USA; New York Jets wide receiver Stephen Hill (84) during organized team activities at their training facility. Mandatory Credit: Ed Mulholland-US PRESSWIRE

That’s right, Stephen Hill, the Georgia Tech speedster.

We have talked about this young man at length, but take a look at his video again, just for fun:

Stephen can flat out fly. A 4.36 forty yard dash at the combine proves that in spades.

6’4″ 215 pounds is a great size for an NFL wide receiver. In the red zone, Hill is going to be a major factor. Just send him to the corner of the endzone and put the ball up. He will be able to take the ball off the top of most defensive backs in this league.

As far as his skill set is concerned, look at that tape for all of the evidence you need. He is the size of Plaxico Burress, but he can get separation. As we saw, that was a bit of a problem with Mr. Burress last year, despite his TD production. Hill is tall, can run and has great hands. It doesn’t make a difference that the Georgia Tech offense only afforded him 49 catches over 3 years. He has skills. 29.3 yards per catch last year? He is a threat.

On the next page we will talk about the Ground and Pound at it’s peak.

The Jets ground and pound attack was at it’s best, as we know, in 2009 and 2010. 20-12 in the regular season and two AFC championship game appearances are all the evidence you need on that. We know about the running game, but what about the passing game? What was the common denominator?

A threat down the field, that’s what. Braylon Edwards was that man.

In 2009, Edwards averaged 15.5 yards per catch over 35 catches. 2010 was a huge year from Braylon, as it was for the Jets, going 11-5. Braylon caught 53 passes for a 17.1 yards per catch average. Over the two seasons, Edwards scored 11 times.

Move to the 2011 debacle, and look at the passing attack. Nobody that played a full year averaged more than 13.6 yards per catch (Jeff Cumberland averaged 17.5 YPC in 3 games before his injury). They had no deep threat, so the offense bogged down.

Tony Sparano’s offensive concept is physical, but relies on a vertical passing attack as well.

Stephen Hill provides that, and gives Jets fans reasons to be optimistic for the upcoming season.